Experts see “little hope” for beluga whales in the Seine

There is only “little hope” for the emaciated beluga whale in the Seine.


the essentials in brief

  • A beluga whale has strayed into the French Seine.
  • The animal is still stuck in a sluice and does not eat.
  • Experts see little hope for the white whale.

This was said by Lamya Essemlali from the marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd on Sunday after a meeting with French officials and experts. In order to survive, the animal must somehow get out of the lock it is currently in within a day or two, 70 kilometers from Paris.

The beluga whale was first sighted in the Seine last Tuesday and swam into the lock on Friday. The standing water there is too warm for the already ailing animal. The species normally lives in arctic waters off the coasts of Russia, Alaska and Canada.

There are “not optimal conditions” for the whale in the lock, said Essemlali. However, authorities and experts have doubts about its ability to return to the sea on its own.

The beluga whale continues to refuse food. His lack of appetite could be a sign of illness, Essemlali explained. “He is malnourished and has been for several weeks or even months. He stopped eating in the sea.” The whale apparently still has strength, reacts to stimuli and is curious. But the authorities and experts had “little hope” for his survival.

According to experts, it is only the second time that a beluga whale has lost its way to France. The first time a fisherman caught a whale in his nets was in 1948 in the Loire estuary.

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