Beluga Whale Stuck in River Seine to Be Moved to Saltwater Tank

PARIS (Reuters) —

A Beluga whale swims up France’s Seine river, near the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garenne lock in Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, France, Monday. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

A beluga whale stuck for days in France’s River Seine, far from the arctic or subarctic waters where it normally lives, will be moved to a saltwater tank on Tuesday for checks and care, an organization involved in its rescue said.

The beluga, which strayed into the Seine last week and swam nearly halfway to Paris, had been confined in a ship’s lock, where it has received vitamins and antibiotics over the weekend but has failed to eat, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Sea Shepherd France has said.

It was unclear why the whale had strayed so far from its natural habitat, with serious concerns raised over its chances of survival in the Seine’s warmer, non-salty waters.

“Today is a big day for the beluga and all those involved in its rescue,” Sea Shepherd France said in a tweet.

In the saltwater tank, the whale “will be monitored and get help, with the hope that what it suffers from can be cured,” it said. “It will then be released in the sea with, we hope, better chances of survival.”

Drone footage on Monday showed the white whale coming up for air as it turned slow circles in the lock just below the water’s surface.

In late May, a gravely ill orca swam dozens of miles up the Seine and died of natural causes after attempts to guide it back to sea failed.

In September 2018, a beluga whale was spotted in the River Thames near Gravesend, east of London, for a few days, in what was then the most southerly sighting of a beluga on British shores.

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