Sadly, the Beluga Found in France's River Seine Has Died (Updated)

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Aug. 11 2022, Updated 10:04 a.m. ET

UPDATE: Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, 10:03 a.m. ET: Environmentalists worldwide are devastated that the beluga whale found in the River Seine unfortunately had to be euthanized while being transported to the ocean, according to CNN. While on the barge, medical professionals evaluated the creature, and deemed him unable to survive on its own, due to insufficient ventilation. Needless to say, it's been a wild ride, and hopefully, it won't happen again.

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PREVIOUSLY: Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, 1:16 p.m. ET: Earlier this year, environmentalists were devastated when an orca whale was found dead in France's River Seine, north of Paris, after inadvertently starving himself.

Now, a few months later, a beluga whale has been discovered in the River Seine — though the whale is alive, many worry about his emaciated condition. Authorities have made unsuccessful attempts to feed him, but fortunately he's being relocated to salt water, to hopefully eat and make his way back out to sea.

Many were concerned the beluga whale's journey would end just like the orca's — and if it weren't for nonprofit organization Sea Shepherd, which is coming with drones to relocate the beluga whale, the chances of that happening would have been pretty likely.

“The urgency is to feed the whale to prevent it from suffering the same fate as the orca who died after starving to death,” Lamya Essemlali, the head of Sea Shepherd, told Al Jazeera.

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There are many reasons why the beluga can't stay in the Seine — belugas can only temporarily survive in fresh water, and Essemlali told Al Jazeera the Seine is "very noisy," and too dirty.

“The environment is not very welcoming for the beluga, the Seine is very polluted, and cetaceans are extremely sensitive to noise,” Essemlali explained.

But how did he get to the Seine in the first place?

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What to know about the beluga found in the Seine:

The beluga in question was first spotted in France's River Seine, less than 50 miles from Paris on Tuesday, Aug. 2, according to France24, and officials have been attempting to lure him out ever since. Although the whale's condition didn't seem to be getting worse, despite the warm conditions and fresh water, it seemed like he wasn't eating, that he was severely underweight, and that he had some skin issues.

"It is alert but not eating," Essemlali observed, via France24.

Authorities have "locked" the whale in a moveable set of walls, to ensure the whale doesn't go farther into the Seine. They are considering opening them to guide the whale towards the English Channel, but many worry it would push the whale closer to Paris, where the water is dirtier and farther from the ocean.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, experts administered vitamins and other products in hopes to boost his lacking appetite. But that didn't prove to be successful.

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That's why Sea Shepherd is guiding the whale out of the Seine with drones — before he's given medical attention, and ultimately set free.

As of right now, Normandy’s Eure department is simply asking that people stay away from the whale, as to not stress him out, according to Reuters. Needless to say, we're hoping for the best.

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Why was there a beluga whale in the Seine?

It's unclear why a beluga made his way so far south.

According to Al Jazeera, beluga whales are generally found in chilly Arctic waters. Every autumn, they migrate south to fill up on food as waters begin to freeze over. But rarely do they find themselves as far south as Paris.

There are many reasons as to why this could have happened. Boats mess with whales echolocation, so maybe he got lost. Or it could have to do with being thrown off by changing water temperatures. Either way, this was certainly an anomaly, and hopefully it doesn't continue to happen.

This article has been updated.

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