The killer whale, who couldn’t find his way back to sea and was struggling for two weeks in the river Seine, has died, environmental organization Sea Shepherd said on Monday. “Unfortunately, we found the orca’s body this morning at 10:48am and informed the authorities,” Sea Shepherd said in a statement.
“His body is covered with mycosis and his skin is necrotic in many places, with raw patches open to infection. His prolonged presence in fresh water unsuited to his skin and in a river loaded with pollutants did not give him much of a chance,” Sea Shepherd said, adding that the orca’s characteristic black and white colors had given way to a grey surface with a muddy appearance.
On Saturday, scientists tried to guide the whale back out to sea with a drone emitting orca sounds, but the animal behaved incoherently and made crying and distressed sounds.
The animal “showed a lack of alertness, inconsistent reactions to sound stimuli and erratic and disoriented behaviour.” The killer whale was in a “critical state of health”.
Plans were made to euthanize the orca, but the animal had already died. The orca’s body will be moved to land, and an autopsy will be conducted, French officials said in a statement.
The killer whale was first spotted at the mouth of the Seine on May 16 between the port of Le Havre and Honfleur in Normandy, before the animal swam upstream west of the city of Rouen.
Sea Shepherd said that it has no say in the outcome of this case, and “we were only included in the entire process at a very late stage, which we regret.”
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