Middle East

Whale hoisted out of French river on rescue mission

PARIS — A belugas stranded in France’s Seine has been pulled from the water in the first phase of an ambitious rescue operation.

A 4-meter (13-foot) long whale (a protected species and usually found in the much colder Arctic Ocean) was stranded in a river northwest of Paris for a week.

After the whale was pulled out of the water in something like a hammock, a dozen vets were waiting on a barge to treat it.

About 80 people, including divers and police, are involved in the rescue.

It took rescuers nearly six hours overnight to lift the 800kg sick whale out of the water and onto the barge.

Rescuers transfer it to a refrigerated truck and bring it back to shore. After that, we hope to treat the animals for a few days before releasing them into the open sea.

“This is a very technical, skill-intensive and long-term rescue operation,” said Isabelle Dorria Pouzet, Eure’s secretary general.

Beluga whales were trapped more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) inland, deprived of food and in poor health.

Animal specialists are always on standby while you are moving.

An expert at Marineland, a marine zoological park in southern France, said “there may be internal problems that are not visible”, but added that beluga whales are “extremely hardy” as a species.

People gathered on the riverbanks of Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne in Normandy to watch the rescue as interest in whale survival spread beyond France.

So far, rescuers have tried to feed the whales frozen herring and live trout to stimulate their appetites and aid them on their long journey back along the river to the English Channel, but the whales have not turned. Hmm.

Experts are baffled by how the whale migrated south from its natural habitat.

Beluga whales may travel south in the fall to feed when the ice forms, but they rarely travel far from their homelands. According to the Pelagis Observatory in France, which specializes in marine mammals, the closest beluga whale population is north of Norway, off the Svalbard archipelago, he 3,000 km (1,870 miles) from the Seine.

But similar stories are not unheard of. In May, a killer whale was found dead after swimming up the Seine in Normandy. And in 2019, a dead whale was found in the Thames near Gravesend, British officials say. — BBC

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/623815/Life/Explore/Whale-winched-out-of-French-river-in-rescue-mission?ref=rss&format=simple&link=link Whale hoisted out of French river on rescue mission

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