The beluga, which was pulled from the Seine river in France last night, has died, the BBC reported.
The whale got stuck in the river a week ago, refused to eat and couldn’t get back to sea on its own. A rescue operation was required in which the animal was pulled from the Seine. It was then transferred to a refrigerated truck to be transported to the coast.
During the trip, the beluga experienced difficulty breathing, her condition worsened, and she had to be put to sleep.
“We are devastated by this tragic outcome, which we knew was very likely, but we thank everyone who worked for this unprecedented mobilization: firefighters, caregivers, volunteers,” announced Sea Shepard France, a marine animal conservation organization.
Experts believe that the beluga’s health deteriorated because it did not eat while it was in the river. The whale was found to be male, had lost a lot of weight and had several wounds on its body.
It is not clear how or why the 4-meter whale ended up so far south. The beluga was stranded more than 100 km inland along the Seine. The closest population of these whales to France is off the Svalbard archipelago, which is 3,000 km to the north.