The orca just swims back and forth, appears very weakened and has little chance of survival. With the use of whale sounds, experts want to avoid having to use a ship for the rescue operation, which would add further stress to the weakened animal.
The orca was first spotted in the mouth of the Seine, between La Havre and Honfleur, on May 16, according to the newspaper La Voix du Nord. The animal has also surfaced a few times off the French north coast. Orcas are commonly found along the coasts of Scotland, Iceland and Norway and further south in the Atlantic Ocean. It is not clear whether the orca strayed due to illness. It may be a young animal that has lost its group.
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Experts aren’t very hopeful about the chances of returning the orca to the ocean. “We are very concerned. His health situation is deteriorating,” expert Gérard Mauger on behalf of the French marine mammal research group GECC told the French news agency AFP. “The longer the orca swims around in freshwater, the faster the animal deteriorates. It is difficult to find a way to return the orca to the salt water.”
The orca is estimated to be between 4 and 5 meters long and it is probably a male.