The rescue operation for a beluga whale in northern France failed: veterinarians had to euthanize the whale freed from the Seine on Wednesday after transporting it to the English Channel, according to the authorities.

The weakened marine mammal was examined by a veterinarian immediately after its arrival in the port city of Ouistreham, the prefecture of the Calvados department said.

Unfortunately, it was found that his condition had deteriorated significantly during transport.

The beluga whale was first spotted in the Seine on Tuesday last week and has been stuck in a lock in Saint-Pierre-La-Garenne since Friday, around 70 kilometers from Paris


130 kilometers from the Seine estuary on the English Channel.

According to experts, the animal could not have survived long in the warm fresh water.

Beluga whales typically live in arctic waters off the coasts of Russia, Alaska, and Canada.

Risk not excluded from the start

In a dramatic rescue operation, emergency services had freed the weakened whale from the Seine during the night.

The marine mammal, four meters long and weighing around 800 kilograms, was lifted out of the lock with a net and a crane and, after an initial veterinary examination, was loaded onto a barge and into a refrigerated truck.

The truck was supposed to bring the whale to Ouistreham on the English Channel, around 160 kilometers away.

In the port there, a seawater basin had been prepared for him, where he was to be nursed.

Then he was to be taken back to the open sea.

However, the French authorities had not ruled out from the outset that the whale would not survive the transport.