France: Rescuers trying to save trapped beluga whale near Paris

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Rescuers say a beluga whale which is stuck in the River Seine is dangerously underweight.

The lost whale was first seen near Paris earlier this week, many miles from its natural habitat in the Atlantic Ocean.

Drone footage shows the whale swimming down the river between the French capital and Rouen, many dozens of miles inland.

Environmentalists have been working since Friday to feed a catch of herring to the mammal.

Authorities in the l’Eure region said in a Friday night statement the whale has a ‘fleeing behaviour vis-a-vis the boats’ and has not responded to attempts to guide it to safer waters.

The people trying to help it are being as unobtrusive as possible to ‘avoid stress that could aggravate his state of health’, according to the statement.

‘It’s quite an impressive animal, which is white and which seems calm. It doesn’t seem stressed, surfacing regularly,’ fire service officer Patrick Herot, from Normandy’s Eure region, told French broadcaster TF1.

If rescuers can not save the whale soon, it is expected it will slowly starve and die.

epa10107469 French firefighters, divers of the nautic brigade, prepare to patrol in search for a lost Beluga whale that was spotted on Seine river, in Saint Pierre la Garenne, Normandy region, France, 05 August 2022. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

French firefighters and divers of the nautic brigade have been helping (Picture: EPA)

A beluga whale is seen swimming up France's Seine river, near a lock in Courcelles-sur-Seine, western France on August 5, 2022. - The beluga whale appears to be underweight and officials are worried about its health, regional authorities said. The protected species, usually found in cold Arctic waters, had made its way up the waterway and reached a lock some 70 kilometres (44 miles) from Paris. The whale was first spotted on August 2, 2022 in the river that flows through the French capital to the English Channel, and follows the rare appearance of a killer whale in the Seine just over two months ago. (Photo by Jean-Fran??ois MONIER / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images)

The Beluga whale has been seen swimming down the river (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

In this aerial image, taken by a drone from the environmental group Sea Shepherd, shows a Beluga whale in the Seine river in Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne region, west of Paris, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. French authorities are tracking a Beluga whale that strayed far from its Artic habitat into the Seine River, raising fears that the ethereal white mammal could starve if it stays in the waterway that flows through Paris and beyond. French environmentalists are hoping to feed a catch of herring to a worryingly thin Beluga whale that strayed far from its Arctic habitat into the Seine River. (Sea Shepherd via AP)

Drone footage has been tracking its movements (Picture: AP)

epa10107470 French firefighters, divers of the nautic brigade, prepare to patrol in search for a lost Beluga whale that was spotted on Seine river, in Saint Pierre la Garenne, Normandy region, France, 05 August 2022. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

The lost Beluga could starve to death if it doesn’t make it back to its habitat soon (Picture: EPA)

French fire brigade tracking on rubber boats a Beluga whale on the Seine river in Saint-Pierre-la-Garenne, west of Paris, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. French authorities are tracking a Beluga whale that strayed far from its Artic habitat into the Seine River, raising fears that the ethereal white mammal could starve if it stays in the waterway that flows through Paris and beyond. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Rescuers have been trying to feed it a catch of herring (Credits: AP)

‘It’s condemned to die if it stays in the Seine,’ Lamya Essemlali, the group’s president, told TF1.

Beluga whale’s are well known for their characteristic pale skin and bulbous foreheads.

They are known for their sociability, as they live, hunt and migrate with one another in pods.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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