• Spotted last Tuesday in the Seine, a beluga of some four meters and 800 kg is in a health condition deemed "worrying".

  • The Eure prefecture announced an attempt to extract this Tuesday evening in an attempt to save the animal.

  • 20 Minutes

    takes stock of this rescue which promises to be “out of the ordinary”.

A week that the poor cetacean is stuck in the Seine.

The exceptional presence of a beluga of four meters and about 800 kg in the river, 70 km from Paris, has since aroused great interest.

And this, beyond the French borders, with an influx of donations from foundations, associations and individuals to try to save the cetacean.

An operation to extract the marine animal is planned for this Tuesday evening, according to the prefecture of Eure, the animal being stuck in a basin of the Seine in Saint-Pierre-La-Garenne.

A member of the Marineland team in Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes), who arrived on the scene Monday evening, said that the operation would be "out of the ordinary".

What is this beluga in the Seine story?

Last Tuesday, a marine animal, quickly identified as a beluga, was spotted in the Seine, near a lock, about 70 km from Paris.

It is "a protected species of cetacean usually living in arctic, subarctic waters and in the estuary of the St. Lawrence in Quebec", specifies the prefecture in a press release.

From the outset, the health status of the cetacean which seems to have gotten lost is considered "worrying", by various services such as the fire brigade, the SNSM (rescuers at sea), the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) , the Cotentin Vetacean Study Group (Geec) and the Pelagis laboratory.

The beluga indeed presents “skin alterations and is emaciated”.

How has the cetacean been saved so far?

The urgency is then "to feed it to prevent it from suffering the same fate as the killer whale found dead of starvation" in the same river at the end of May, quickly explained the president of the association for the defense of the oceans Sea Shepherd. , Lamya Essemlali.

"The environment is not very welcoming for the beluga, the Seine is very polluted and cetaceans are extremely sensitive to noise, but the Seine is very noisy with its very important navigation", she added.

The prefecture of Eure indicated that “Sea Shepherd France had proposed (…) to set up rescue and feeding attempts” (dead herring or live trout) and that “the prefect of Eure (…) had decided to support and secure these actions, while respecting the animal and its needs".

However, the animal remained "very elusive", "even trying to approach it with great care, it's difficult", indicated Gérard Mauger, vice-president of the Geec.

The cetacean also did not respond to "guiding attempts", according to the prefecture, indicating that "the services engaged were now going to be as least intrusive as possible" in order to avoid stressing it.

The animal which refused to feed was finally isolated in the lock of Notre-Dame de la Garenne near Vernon, 70 km northwest of the capital.

“Euthanasia of the beluga whale has been ruled out,” said Lamya Essemlali, while the opening of the lock was envisaged in order to let him end his life “as someone very sick”.

The extraction was the chosen option, it will take place this Tuesday evening. 

Why is this rescue operation “out of the ordinary”?

This Tuesday, the Eure prefecture finally announced an attempt to extract the beluga.

"An operation to transport the beluga lost in the Seine will be attempted in the evening", according to the prefecture, which is piloting the operation to save the animal usually evolving in cold waters.

The operation promises to be “out of the ordinary”, according to Isabelle Brasseur, member of the Marineland team in Antibes (Alpes Maritimes), who arrived on site Monday evening.

In this case, “what is out of the ordinary is the place,” she noted.

The banks of the Seine "are indeed not accessible to vehicles" at this location and "everything must be transported by hand".

The beluga will be transported by road to an unspecified location.

For the specialist, “the priority is to put it back in seawater”.

The animal should then be deposited for a few days in a seawater lock, the time to be treated, before being taken offshore to be released.

In these manipulations, “we will do the various examinations all along to try that there is no dead time, wasted time (…) the veterinarian will first carry out a visual examination, then a blood, take a breath sample, etc.

“, developed Isabelle Brasseur.

Asked about the feasibility of such an operation, given the size and weight of the beluga, she argued that Marineland had in the past ensured the extraction and transport of larger animals, such as an orca born in Antibes. and transported to the United States.


Seine: The extraction of beluga whales promises to be "out of the ordinary"


Seine: The beluga still does not eat, its chances of survival are decreasing

  • Paris

  • Animals

  • Unusual

  • Seine

  • Ile-de-France

  • Normandy