Experts are investigating a plan to transport a malnourished beluga whale that swam up France’s River Seine back to sea before its health deteriorates further, officials said Monday.
Sub-prefect Isabelle Dorliat-Pouzet of the Eure department in northern France said he was seriously considering the option.
Officials in the Eure prefecture told AFP the whale could be transported on a barge, overland or even by helicopter.
It would be a 130 kilometers (80 miles) journey to reach the north coast of France.
But he still wasn’t eating, Sea Shepherd France president Lamya Essemlali told AFP in a text message. However, there was “no worsening of his condition,” she said.
Since Friday, it has been located about 70 kilometers north of the French capital between two locks.
The latest effort to save the animal is partly due to fears that the warm waters of the river are damaging its health.
But if you do, you risk pulling it further upstream towards Paris, which would be even worse.
A three-man team from Marineland, Europe’s largest marine wildlife theme park in the southern French resort of Antibes, was set to arrive on site later Monday.
“We are making slow progress,” she told AFP. “There is no ideal solution, we have to weigh the pros and cons” of each option to save the whale.
On Saturday, vets “administered vitamins and products to stimulate appetite,” said a statement from police in the Normandy department of Eure, which oversees the rescue operation.
An adult can grow up to four meters (13 feet) in length.
Originally published as French experts ponder plan to transport whale back to sea