An orca has been stuck in the Seine for two months. If some specialists think that the animal is almost doomed to die, others think that it is still possible that it will survive.
Can she be saved? For two months, a male killer whale has been observed in the mouth of the Seine, far from its natural environment made up of seas and oceans. This almost unprecedented situation – a similar event having occurred in 1931, in Oregon in the United States according to the Larousse encyclopedia – leads specialists to question the survival of the animal.
Last Tuesday, Gérard Mauger, vice-president of the Gecc (Cotentin cetacean study group) said he was “worried” on Actu. He thus evoked an “unfavorable vital prognosis”, specifying that the orca is “emaciated and presents mycoses”.
“When the killer whales are no longer in their group, they are almost doomed. It’s natural selection,” he said.
Alexandre Gannier, doctor in marine ecology and specialist in cetaceans, draws up a more optimistic observation this Friday on Franceinfo. “The orca is not in agony”, he assures, explaining that this one “is weakened, has probably lost a few pounds but still seems to have tone”. In line with these remarks, the NGO Sea Shepherd indicates in the Huffpost that, although the orca is “emaciated”, she hunts and “does not therefore allow herself to die of hunger”.
According to Alexandre Gannier, it would be possible to “bring assistance” to the animal. Specialists could “with a semi-rigid canoe, with a lot of gentleness, a lot of patience, kindly suggest to the orca the direction to take to get out of these meanders of the Seine”.
The expert specifies that this operation is essential. “If the killer whale stays in place like this for weeks, it will die,” he said. The cetacean is currently between Le Havre and Rouen (Seine-Maritime).
According to Sea Shepherd, this intervention nevertheless resembles “a last-ditch operation”. “There is a window of a few days to hope that [l’orque] approaches the sea on its own, which would be by far its greatest chance of survival and spare it the stress of human intervention.
The Seine-Maritime prefecture indicates in this regard, in a press release sent this Friday, that “a gentle intervention method” will be put in place. It will consist of “ensuring a diffusion of sound stimuli (sounds emitted by a population of killer whales) to attract and guide the animal towards the sea”.
Currently, navigation restrictions are in place to preserve the health of the orca. It is in particular, “strictly forbidden to approach voluntarily by nautical way less than 100 meters from the animal”.