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Orcas seen “for the first time” off the Italian coast

A group of three orcas, a marine mammal threatened with extinction, was seen in the Strait of Messina, which is “a first” in this stretch of sea between the Italian peninsula and Sicily, according to the association Marecamp which announced Sunday on Facebook.

The three orcas would be those who were seen a few days ago off the port of Genoa (northwest) and who would therefore have traveled 800 kilometers in a week, “Clara Monaco, marine biologist of AFD, told AFP on Sunday. the Marecamp association.

They were seen on Friday by Simone Vartuli, a 25-year-old sports fisherman who was able to approach them while he was sailing on a boat in the strait.

“I was scared at first because they are huge animals but I stayed with them for almost an hour and I ended up being very close, about a meter away,” he explained to AFP.

“We do not know if they went down to Sicily to find food or to then go to the Strait of Gibraltar, then the ocean and Iceland,” said Clara Monaco.

“The fact that they are in the strait is a problem due to the heavy maritime traffic in this area and therefore the risk of collision with ships,” she added.

The biologist also stressed that it was important not to get too close to these mammals “because they are very stressed”.

“If someone sees them, they have to notify the coast guard as soon as possible because we need to collect scientific information,” she said.

Killer whales are mammals that can be seen in all of the world’s oceans and seas, but are generally found in colder regions.

The Mediterranean is home to eleven cetacean species, including orcas that are in danger of extinction, as well as the fin whale, the sperm whale and the bottlenose dolphin, also considered to be vulnerable species.

The threats to these species are accidental fishing in the nets, tourist pressure to observe them, the noise generated by oil exploration which can cause massive stranding or even maritime traffic with the risk of collision.

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