Efforts to feed Beluga whale in France’s Seine fail so far

Beluga whales in the Seine River west of Paris on Friday. French authorities are tracking a beluga whale that wandered far from its arctic habitat into the River Seine, sparking fears the ethereal white mammal could starve. (C Shepherd via AP)

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PARIS – Efforts to feed dangerously thin beluga whales that have strayed into the Seine River in France have so far failed, and experts are now trying to get the whales out of the river’s locks, environmentalists said Monday.

Marine conservation group Sea Shepherd France tweeted on Monday that “feeding efforts are continuing in parallel with finding solutions to get out of the lock under better conditions.”

Experts at the site warn that beluga should not stay in the warm, dirty water between the lock gates for too long.

“Beluga still not eating but showing interest,” tweeted sea shepherd France. Overnight the whale “rubbed herself against the lock wall and removed the visible patches on her back. Antibiotics may have helped as well.”

Last week, the missing beluga was first spotted in a French river far from its Arctic habitat. Drone footage taken by French fire services showed the whales moving gently in the light green waters of the river between Paris and the city of Normandy, dozens of kilometers (miles) offshore.

Since Friday, experts have tried to feed the belugas with dead herring and live trout, but without success. Sea Shepherd fears that whales could slowly starve to death in waterways.

Local officials said veterinarians have administered vitamins and products to boost the whale’s appetite, as well as some medical treatment.

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