French rescuers euthanize Begula whale stuck in river

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Aug. 10 (UPI) — An 1,800-pound Begula whale that got stuck in France’s Seine River for more than a week earlier this month has died while being moved back out to sea, officials said Tuesday.

The 13-foot whale, which was 800 pounds underweight, was euthanized while on its way to a saltwater pool in Normandy. It had been stuck in a freshwater lock at Saint-Pierre-La-Garenne, about 45 miles northwest of Paris on Aug. 2.

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The conservation group Sea Shepherd France said the whale refused to eat and its health quickly deteriorated.

Divers, veterinarians and rescue workers tried to save the mammal in a complex operation, building a net around the whale, then lifting it out of the water with the help of a tractor and crane, in a 6-hour effort.

The whale struggled to breathe during the rescue effort, leading authorities to decide to euthanize it.

“During the trip, the veterinarians noted a deterioration in its condition, particularly in its respiratory activity, and we were able to see that the animal was in pain, not breathing enough,” veterinarian Florence Ollivet-Courtois, said, according to USA Today. “The suffering was obvious for the animal, so it was important to release its tension.”

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