French authorities plan to give vitamins to malnourished beluga in the Seine

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French authorities were planning to give vitamins to a beluga whale swimming up the Seine on Saturday, as they raced to save the malnourished whale refusing to feed.

The apparently underweight whale was spotted for the first time on Tuesday in the river that runs through Paris to the English Channel. On Saturday, he had traveled about 70 kilometers (44 miles) north of the French capital.

“He is quite thin and seems to have trouble eating,” said Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet, senior police official in the Eure department in Normandy, who oversees the operation, during a press conference. rescue.

Rescuers had tried feeding him frozen herring and then live trout, but he didn’t seem to agree either, she said. It is hoped that injecting the animal with vitamins will stimulate its appetite, she said.

Authorities have decided to either keep the animal in the waterway so it can regain its appetite or take it back to the sea, she said, adding that no decision has yet been made.

She said small specks had appeared on her pale skin, but scientists have yet to determine if it was a natural occurrence due to the soft water or signs of health issues.

On Friday, Gérard Mauger, of the marine conversation company GECC, told AFP that despite the fact that it is a particularly sociable mammal, “it behaves like yesterday, it seems very capricious. It does not rises only briefly to the surface, followed by long dives”.

According to sonar recordings, it also emitted very little of the chirps and rapids whales are known for, raising new concerns about the animal’s health.

Rare sighting

Belugas are normally only found in cold Arctic waters, and although they migrate south in the fall to feed when the ice forms, they rarely venture that far.

An adult can reach up to four meters (13 feet) in length.

It is only the second recorded sighting of a beluga in a French river since 1948, when a fisherman in the Loire estuary found one in his nets.

The sighting comes just months after a killer whale – also known as an orca, but technically part of the dolphin family – washed up in the Seine and was later found dead between Le Havre and Rouen at the end of May.

An autopsy revealed the animal, more than four meters long, likely suffered from exhaustion after being unable to feed, although officials said they also discovered a bullet lodged in the base of its skull – although it is far from clear that the injury played a part in his death.


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