An orca trapped in the Seine: an unprecedented operation using a drone to save the cetacean

A plan has been drawn up to guide an orca adrift in the Seine towards the sea using sounds from its congeners, Seine-Maritime authorities said on Friday.

Following a meeting with French and international scientists, including marine mammal specialists, the Seine-Maritime prefecture said it would monitor the killer whale remotely using a drone while by broadcasting sounds from its congeners in an attempt to bring it back to the sea.

“The use of these minimally invasive methods, several hundred meters away, makes it possible to avoid the intervention of vessels in the immediate vicinity of the animal, which could aggravate its state of stress and endanger its survival, such as the worker safety”the prefecture said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Press release on the surveillance of the weakened orca ud83dudc33 observed in the Seine u2935ufe0f

– Prefect of Normandy and Seine-Maritime (@Prefet76) May 27, 2022

The cetacean, whose state of health is deteriorating in fresh water, moved away from the ocean at the beginning of the month, and is in danger of dying.

The 4-meter orca, identified as a male, was first spotted at the mouth of the Seine on May 16 between the port of Le Havre and the town of Honfleur in Normandy, before ascending tens of kilometers upstream to reach the city of Rouen.

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