An orca has been wandering around in the Seine for weeks. When a rescue attempt fails, the decision is made to put the sick animal to sleep. But the whale dies first. An autopsy should clarify why he got lost in the first place.
Helpers found the sick orca, which had been wandering around in the Seine in France for weeks, dead. First, a skipper saw the whale floating in the river in the morning, said the Seine-Maritime prefecture in Rouen. With the support of the harbor master's office, the Sea Shepherd France organization then located the orca and was only able to determine its death. The animal, which weighed several tons, was now to be dragged to the shore and rescued. After that, veterinarians and biologists should perform an autopsy to find out why the marine mammal strayed into the English Channel and Seine and why it died.
On Saturday, attempts were initially made to guide the orca towards the sea with the help of whale noises. Even before the rescue operation, his condition had been classified as extremely weak and the chances of survival as low. Because the animal was already so weak, the authorities, after consulting experts, decided to use the extraordinary noise method. This avoided using a ship at close range, which could further increase the animal's stress level. The whale sounds were played underwater with a loudspeaker during the mission. The research teams then watched from boats some distance away as the orca responded to the sounds.
But instead of being guided by the sounds, the animal swam back and forth between the banks. In order not to cause even more stress to the animal, the experiment was stopped early on Sunday evening. A drone was also used in the experimental rescue attempt, and the images showed growths and advanced fungal infestation in the animal. It was then decided to put the sick orca to sleep.
According to the Marine Mammal Research Group (GEEC), the whale was first sighted in early April by the crew of a trawler about 30 kilometers off the Normandy coast. Since then it has been sighted along the coast, in the Seine estuary and upstream in the Seine. Orcas are more commonly found off the coasts of Scotland, Iceland and Norway, and further south in the Atlantic Ocean in the Bay of Biscay, a GEEC expert explained. Why the animal appeared in the Seine is unclear.