Rescuers scramble to track Beluga whale in French Seine

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PARIS (TBEN) – French authorities are tracking a Beluga whale that has strayed far from its arctic habitat in the Seine, raising fears that the ethereal white mammal could starve if it remains in the waterway that flows through Paris and beyond .

Drone footage captured by the French fire service shows the whale snaking gently in a swath of the river’s pale green waters between Paris and the Normandy city of Rouen, many tens of miles inland from the sea.

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“It is quite an impressive animal, appearing white (and) calm. It doesn’t seem stressed and comes up regularly,” fire officer Patrick Hérot, from the Eure region of Normandy, told French broadcaster TF1.

Marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd France said it was scrambling to help the whale, sending drones and a boat to follow it. It said the whale likely needs food and assistance to lead it back to its natural ocean habitat.

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“It is sentenced to death if it remains in the Seine,” Lamya Essemlali, the group’s chairman, told TF1.

Beluga’s pale skin and bulbous foreheads make them easily recognizable. They are also known for sociability and living, usually hunting and migrating together in pods.

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