The Seine-Maritime prefecture announced Friday that a killer whale in trouble in the Seine between Rouen et Le Havre will be attracted by sound stimuli. This is in addition to "a gentle intervention method". Operation is currently underway in Grand-Quevilly.
A group of experts made suggestions and took into consideration the orca's declining health. "The decision was made favoring a gentle intervention method," stated the prefecture in a communiqué.
It is designed to "remotely monitor the animal using a drone, coordinated by an intervention aimed to ensure the dissemination of sound stimuli (sounds emitted by a population killer whales) in order to attract and guide it towards the sea".
The solution was agreed to after a meeting that took place on Friday under the prefect's authority and included all actors and partners.
According to the prefecture, a working group of national and international experts in marine mammals was formed Thursday to "try to find a solution to encourage wild animals to return to sea".
Charlotte Cure, a researcher in bioacoustics from Cerema, explained how the "experimental operation" should be carried out on the Twitter account for the prefecture Seine-Maritime. It's not clear if it will work, but it's worth trying.
"We will place the boat upstream or downstream [...]. We will also put a speaker into the water. We will play natural sounds, orca sounds, and watch the animal's reaction to these sounds."
How will the operation be carried out? 2/2 pic.twitter.com/AetSxtM19l
The prefecture confirmed Wednesday that the "male killer whale", a protected species, was present in the Seine in a "very weak" condition. In a Friday statement, she stated that the killer whale traveled the Seine back-and-forth without ever reaching the sea.
The orca was seen for the first-time on May 16, between Honfleur et Le Havre, near Pont de Normandie. Gerard Mauger (vice president of the GECC), a Cherbourg-based association commissioned by OFB to preserve and study marine mammals in the Channel, stated that the orca "very likely arrived already weakened towards Seine estuary".
"The vital prognosis has been engaged. He said that he was really, really concerned.
The prefecture also reminded him that the animal had "naturally no vocation to develop apart from its group, nor within fresh water courses." He could get hurt or become ill.
The prefecture called for an "avoidance of any gathering or influx close to it" that could "put this wild creature in danger but above and beyond all represent a risk for humans". It had also announced legal prohibition measures based on a notice for shipping, "so the cetacean cannot be approached".
Gerard Mauger says that this orca, whose length is difficult to estimate, could be as long as 4/5 meters.