the option of euthanasia “discarded for the moment”

The option to euthanize the beluga, which is in the Seine, has been “discarded for the moment”, said Sunday Lamya Essemlali, head of Sea Shepherd, the ocean defense NGO, while the cetacean is sick and does not feed.

“It would be premature because he still has vigor, a curious behavior: he turns his head, he reacts to stimuli, he is not amorphous and moribund,” said Ms. Essemlali, at the end of the interview. a meeting with the prefecture, the French Office for Biodiversity, Pelagis and a Canadian cetacean expert.

The malnourished animal

The beluga, a four-meter cetacean spotted in the Seine on Tuesday and whose presence in this river is exceptional, is in a lock measuring approximately 125 m by 25 m at 70 km north-west of Paris from Friday.

“His lack of appetite is surely a symptom of something else, an origin that we don’t know, a disease. He is undernourished and it is several weeks, even several months. At sea, he no longer ate,” Ms Essemlali continued.

The presence of spots on his body, revealed on Saturday, would come from the fact that he is in fresh water. Asked about the chances of saving the animal, Ms. Essemlali confided that the experts and the authorities were faced with “a challenge”, where there is “little hope”. the sea on its own. Even if we “drove” it with a boat, it would be extremely dangerous, if not impossible,” she said.

Extract it from the lock

Another hypothesis would be to extract it from the water and “take it to the sea to feed it and provide it with additional vitamins, to do a biopsy to have information on its origin and information on its state of health and what that makes him sick,” she said.

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In any case, it does not seem possible to leave it in the lock where the water is stagnant and hot. “He must be out within the next 24/48 hours, these are not optimal conditions for him,” explained the Sea Shepherd manager.

According to the Pelagis observatory, which specializes in marine mammals, the beluga “has an arctic and subarctic distribution. Although the best-known population is found in the St. Lawrence estuary (Quebec), the closest to our shores is found in Svalbard, an archipelago located in northern Norway (3,000 km from the Seine)”.

According to the same organization, it is the second beluga known in France after a fisherman from the Loire estuary had brought one up in his nets in 1948. In 1966, another individual had gone up the Rhine as far as in Germany and in 2018, a beluga was observed in the Thames estuary in England.

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