But despite the massive operation that mobilized 80 people – divers, scientists, police and firefighters – the local province announce Early on Wednesday that the beluga had died.
They said that after realizing that he was too weak to survive, the authorities decided to euthanize the tortured animal. It wasn’t clear how the whale, which weighs more than 1,700 pounds, had strayed far from the Arctic waters that are its natural habitat.
Veterinarians were waiting on the floor to examine the mammal that captured onlookers after being stuck for days in northwestern France. Crowds formed on the banks of the river in Normandy to watch the operation.
On the coast near the English Channel, a command post has been watching as lifeguards plan to treat the whale before releasing it back into the water.
But, far from the cold waters that the sheltered species were accustomed to, the health of the cetaceans in the truck worsened.
“During the trip, the vets noticed a deterioration in his condition, particularly in his respiratory function,” veterinarian Florence Olivier Courtois said. She said the beluga spent days in an unsuitable environment, citing river temperatures, pollution and boating.
The operation took off because it was the last chance. “If we had left him, he would have been condemned to certain death,” she said at a press conference. So we tried to save him. Unfortunately, we did not succeed.”
Members of the Maritime Preservation Authority Earlier this week the group and rescue workers tried to feed the whale fish to help them make their way back along the river to the English Channel. They expressed their fear that the weak animal might starve in the waterway.
Soon after it lifted the crane outside the Seine, the non-profit organization Sea Shepherd France He said The beluga did not have an infectious disease but was unable to digest food for reasons that are unclear.
Sea Shepherd thanked the local authorities for attempting the difficult operation.
“It is with a sad heart that we announce that the beluga did not survive the transfer, which was risky but indispensable to give an animal otherwise convicted,” she added.
It’s rare to see beluga whales in rivers, but in 2018, a Penny whale In the British River Thames raised a similar rescue mission.
Other polar animals have also been spotted in Europe in recent years. According to the Natural History Museumincluding the walrus nicknamed Bal.
“While it is too early to say whether the increase in Arctic wildlife in European waters is part of an increasing trend, the increase in melting iceThe movement of prey and inclement weather are all linked to changes in the distribution of these animals, the museum said.
Rick Nowak contributed to this report.