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February 4, 2023

France prepares to euthanize Seine killer whale …

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Kuni .G. Isaac

The French authorities have decided to euthanize the orca, an operation to save a killer whale that has been stranded, swimming for days at the mouth of the French Seine.

 Today it became known that the young animal suffers from an advanced fungal infection, which causes a lot of pain and with which it can infect other marine mammals.

rescuers tried to lure the four-meter-long animal back to sea with a drone that produces simulated orca sounds following the decision to euthanize the animal after scientists tried to lure it back to sea by playing orca calls. But the whale responded “erratically” and “incoherently” to the sounds emitted by a drone.

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This data, including aerial photographs, shows that the orca is disoriented and does not respond alertly to sound stimuli. Officials believe that the whale is suffering from mucormycosis, also known as black fungus. The disease starts by spreading across the skin and can eventually reach organs like the lungs, the heart, and the brain, possibly explaining the animal’s confused reaction, due to its disease that has so far mainly been observed in marine mammals in North America.

A group of experts unanimously concluded that the only solution was to euthanize the whale and end its suffering.

 

Lone killer whale

The male 4-meter (13-feet) orca was first spotted in the iconic French river on April 5 some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the English Channel. It has since been spotted multiple times in the Seine, including around 60 kilometers upstream.

Killer whale sightings are rare in the English Channel. Some have speculated that the whale was there due to his illness, because relatively calmer waters made it easier to hunt.

The authorities did not provide details on how or where the animal would be euthanized.

Orcas can survive in fresh water but the environment is not good for their health. Additionally, orcas have a tight social structure and are used to hunting in packs, which poses additional problems for a stranded individual.

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