An ailing orca stranded in the Seine River in France will be enticed to the sea by a drone equipped with loudspeakers.
A drone will be used to broadcast orca sounds in an attempt to guide the animal, whose health is rapidly failing.
In a last-ditch effort to save the animal’s life, an orca lost in France’s River Seine will be directed back to sea using sounds emitted by the species.
Following a meeting with national and international scientists, including marine mammal specialists, the local prefecture stated it will observe the animal, also known as a killer whale, from a distance with a drone while broadcasting orca messages in an attempt to lead it back to the sea.
“By using these non-invasive methods from a distance of several hundred meters, it will be possible to avoid using ships in close proximity to the animal, which could aggravate its stress and jeopardize its survival as well as the safety of rescuers,” the Seine-Maritime prefecture said in a statement.
The four-metre (13-foot) orca, which has been identified as a male, was initially observed at the mouth of the Seine on May 16 in Normandy, between Le Havre and Honfleur, before traveling dozens of kilometers upstream to end up west of Rouen.
The orca’s health is failing, and it is on the verge of death. It can’t find enough food in the river, and the fresh water is causing it health problems.
“It’s a life-threatening situation… “It’s in bad shape,” said Gerard Mauger, vice-president of the Cotentin Cetacean Study Group, to France 3.
“Finding solutions to get it back to the salt water is quite difficult.” Mauger went on to say that assisting the animal could cause it to become stressed.
The orca needed to be rescued immediately, according to Muriel Arnal, president of the French animal protection organization One Voice. “We have to be quick,” Arnal stated, implying that guiding the orca with nets would be less stressful than putting it on a barge.
She also mentioned that male orcas are “mummy’s boys,” who spend their entire lives with their mothers.