A French rescue operation has managed to


a lost beluga whale

from the water this morning in the Seine River

, north of Paris, in the first step of a complicated mission to return it to the sea.


24 divers

and the rest of the rescuers involved in the operation have needed

six hours to put the cetacean

, lost in a lock in the town of Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, in the net.

The beluga, weighing about 800 kilos and in an "alarming" state of health,

was lifted in the net with a crane and placed on a barge, where it was immediately attended by a dozen veterinarians.


several minutes of uncertainty

, the imposing cetacean was suspended in the air, waving its white body four meters

above the heads of the rescuers.



must be immediately placed in a refrigerated truck that will transport it to the coast if the tests determine

that it can make the trip

, said the general secretary of the Eure prefecture, Isabelle Dorliat-Puzet.

"We are awaiting the

results of the blood test

and ultrasound and, depending on the result, it will be decided whether or not it can be transported to the sea," said


"We can see that he

is a male

, that he is very underweight and that he has some injuries," he added.

He has indicated that the intention is

to take it to the sea to release

it as far as possible from the coast.

The beluga was held since Friday in a lock located 70 km northwest of Paris and about

130 kilometers

from the mouth.

He has lost a lot of weight, but his condition is "satisfactory", said

Isabelle Brasseur

, from the marine animal park Marineland (southern France), the largest in Europe.

How it got there is unknown, since

belugas live in the cold waters of the Arctic

and although they descend south in autumn, they never venture that far.

"Out of the ordinary"

The rescue operation is "out of the ordinary" and carries

risks for the cetacean

, already weakened and sensitive to stress, Brasseur pointed out.

"It is possible that I die now,

during the handling

, during the journey or at point B "in Ouistreham, he has warned him.

For this reason, a basin with seawater

was prepared

in a lock in the port of Ouistreham, in the English Channel, to receive the animal, which will spend

three days there for observation

and treatment before being released into the open sea.

"We hope that it will have

more chances of surviving

there ," said the conservation group Sea Shepherd France, which is collaborating in the operation.

During the

extraction of the beluga whale

, a handful of curious people watched on the banks of the Seine.

"I am hopeful

that it will return to the sea

and not end up like the orca," said Isabelle Rainsart, who was the first to record the beluga on August 2.

According to the Pelagis Observatory, which specializes in

marine mammals

, the closest beluga population is found off the Svalbard archipelago in

northern Norway

, some 3,000 kilometers from the Seine.

It is, according to that institution,

the second beluga reported in France


The first had reached the Loire River, in a fisherman's nets, in 1948.

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