sound stimuli to guide the animal towards the sea

published on Friday, May 27, 2022 at 10:28 p.m.

An orca in difficulty in the Seine between Rouen and Le Havre will be attracted to the sea using sound stimuli, announced Friday the prefecture of Seine-Maritime which favors “a gentle intervention method”.

On the basis of the proposals made by a group of experts and to take into account the deteriorated state of health of the killer whale, “the decision was made to favor a gentle method of intervention”, indicated the prefecture in a communicated.

It aims to ensure “remote” monitoring of the animal by using a drone, coordinated with an intervention aimed at ensuring the dissemination of sound stimuli (sounds emitted by a population of killer whales) to attract and guide the animal towards the sea”, its natural environment.

This solution was adopted following a meeting held on Friday, under the authority of the prefect, involving all the players and partners involved.

According to the prefecture, to “try to identify a solution to encourage the wild animal to return to the sea”, a working group was convened Thursday involving national and international experts in marine mammals.

On Wednesday the prefecture had confirmed the presence in the Seine of this “male killer whale, protected and wild species” in a “very weakened” state.

Seen for the first time on May 16 between Honfleur and Le Havre, near the Pont de Normandie, the killer whale “very probably arrived already weakened towards the Seine estuary”, had indicated to AFP Gérard Mauger, vice- President of the GECC, an association based in Cherbourg commissioned by the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) for the study and preservation of marine mammals in the Channel.

“The vital prognosis is engaged. We are really very very worried”, underlined Mr. Mauger.

The prefecture had also recalled that this animal “is naturally not intended to evolve separated from its group, nor in fresh water courses. It could be injured or sick”.

Calling for “avoid any gathering or crowds near it” which could “put this wild animal in danger but above all represents a risk for people”, the prefecture had announced the taking of prohibition measures legally based on a notice to navigation , “so that the cetacean is not approached”.

According to Mr. Mauger, this orca whose length is “complicated to estimate” could measure “in the 4/5 meters”.

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