Race against time to save a beluga lost in the Seine

The story is so improbable that it has gone well beyond the borders of France. “French authorities and NGOs across the country have been mobilized since Friday to rescue a beluga, a protected species of cetacean usually living in cold waters, spotted in the Seine” between Paris and Le Havre, thus reports the daily Clarin in Argentina.

The cetacean, recognizable by its white skin and its domed and prominent forehead, was discovered on Tuesday while going up the Seine. According to the Pelagis observatory, a specialist in marine mammals, this would be the second beluga observed in France. A fisherman had brought one up in his nets in 1948, in the Loire estuary.

The beluga entered a lock on Friday, located 70 km from Paris and closed to traffic until further notice. The inhabitants of the region have been summoned by the authorities to “leave the beluga alone, to avoid stressing it further”, precise NBC News in the USA.

Because the state of health of the reckless cetacean, “extremely skinny”is “worrying”told the American channel Lamya Essemlali, president of the NGO Sea Shepherd. “If we can’t feed him quickly, it’s hopeless, he will die”she is alarmed.

The scientists, who dispatched boats, helicopters and drones to monitor the mammal, “try to bring him back to the mouth of the Seine by luring him with fish”without success so far.

But even if they succeed, “His chances of survival remain slim”, warns Ms. Essemlali. Rescuers will therefore try to take a DNA sample from the animal to determine where it came from – probably Canada, Norway or Russia. The president of Sea Shepherd hopes that the cetacean “can then be repatriated to its natural habitat by plane”Explain NBC.

The channel points out that belugas are creatures “sociable” who travel “usually in groups. However, solitary individuals sometimes venture further south, and can temporarily survive in fresh water..

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