The track of euthanasia ruled out, three options were still on the table this weekend: an opening of the lock, letting him end his life “like someone very sick” or extraction, had indicated the state representative.
It is therefore the hypothesis of an extraction, which already held the rope on Sunday, which is retained, as explained by Mrs. Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet during a press briefing in the afternoon near the lock.
“It seemed possible to us to perhaps think about transport to the sea. In the interest of this beluga, it can be tried, we are working hard on it. We are all very happy to work on this option”, he said. she declared. “No one can promise that she will succeed,” she admitted, however.
Given the complexity of moving an animal of this size, weighing around 800 kg, sick and emaciated, the sub-prefect was unable to indicate “when, where and how” this delicate operation could take place.
In addition, the English Channel is not very close: the lock of Saint-Pierre-La-Garenne (Eure), where the cetacean entered by itself on Friday 70 km north-west of Paris, is approximately more than 130 km from the mouth of the sea.
“A transport operation is now being considered to reintegrate the beluga into a marine environment that would suit it better. It would be kept for a few days in a saltwater basin to continue to receive care before being released into the sea” , said the prefecture in a statement released in the evening.
– Health “improving” –
If the cetacean, which usually evolves in cold waters, “does not seem to have fed”, the prefecture noted Monday “a very slight improvement” in its state of health, with the partial resorption of skin alterations.
According to Sea Shepherd, present on the scene, “the beluga is still not feeding (a priori) but it continues to be curious. Around 4 a.m. it rubbed itself for 30 minutes on the walls of the lock and got rid of the stains that had appeared on his back. Antibiotics may have helped as well,” the ocean advocacy NGO tweeted.
Asked about the possibility of putting the beluga to sleep and transporting it, the president of Sea Shepherd France, Lamya Essemlali, explained on RTL “that it was not possible to put the dolphins to sleep for the simple reason that they are animals that breathe consciously. If you put a dolphin to sleep, it stops breathing and it dies.”
The Marineland of Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes), the largest marine zoo in Europe, dispatched a team to the Eure, including “a veterinarian specializing in marine mammals” and which was expected at the start of the evening.
“We have been following the operations from the start remotely (…) We are moving forward step by step. There is no ideal solution, you have to weigh the pros and cons, analyze the advantages and disadvantages” of each solution considered, Isabelle Brasseur, head of education, research and conservation at Marineland, told AFP.
The Marineland team does not bring any equipment with them. Only “a stretcher, a fabric to place the animal before moving it. Above all, we bring our skills,” said Ms. Brasseur.
Asked about the cost of operations to try to save this beluga, the sub-prefect underlined “the immense emotion” caused by the presence of this animal trapped in the waters of the Seine, revealing that a lot of donations were pouring in, coming from foundations, associations and individuals.