France: dead the Beluga entered the Seine

The animal was euthanized during the move to Normandy

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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France: dead the Beluga entered the Seine

The beluga raid in the Seine, France, ended in a predictable way in the worst possible way. The animal was pulled from the Seine in a rescue operation and died on its way to Ouistreham in Calvados. The beluga was euthanized during the transfer from a lock of the Eure to the port of Ouistreham, where it was to remain for a few days to be treated.

The animal was sick and could not feed. Prefecture and Veterinary Authorities wrote on Twitter: "Despite an unprecedented rescue operation for the beluga, we are sad to announce the death of the cetacean. The suffering was evident for the animal, it was not ventilating enough and so we decided it had to be euthanized." the animal had run aground some 130 kilometers inland from the Channel, at Saint-Pierre-La-Garenne, in Normandy.

And since Friday he was stuck in a lock 70 kilometers from Paris. Involved in the operation were 24 divers, who tried several times to lure the animal into the nets until 4 in the morning. Euthanasia was ruled out after the animal responded to stimuli and still seemed to have energy.

However, the cetacean has always refused food from the rescuers, the lack of digestive activity was the cause of the deterioration of health in the last hours. The beluga inhabits a discontinuous zone between 50 ° N and 80 ° N, in particular along the coasts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia.

The southernmost populations are found along the estuaries of the Saint Lawrence River and the Saguenay River, in Québec, as far as the Atlantic is concerned, while the Amur River, the Šantar Islands and the waters surrounding the island of Sakhalin, in the Sea of Ochotsk represent the southernmost areas of the Pacific Ocean where these animals can be found.

As spring arrives, belugas move to shallow coves such as bays and river estuaries, where they will spend the summer. These sites are discontinuous. A mother usually returns to the same place year after year. As the summer areas begin to become covered in ice with the arrival of autumn, the belugas move in search of more suitable places to spend the winter.

Most of them travel in the direction of the pack's displacement, staying on its edge during the winter. Others, on the other hand, remain under the pack, surviving thanks to cracks in the ice from which to emerge to breathe.

Belugas are also able to find pockets of air trapped under the ice. The ability of these animals to find small ice-free spaces in the middle of the dense and thick pack that can cover up to 96% of the surface remains a mystery to scientists.

It has been suggested that belugas use echolocation, a tool suitable for life under the ice, to find the cracks in the pack needed to breathe.