Another suspected whale has been spotted in the Seine, just one month after an orca died in the river after becoming sick and distressed.
The NGO Sea Shepherd tweeted: “We have received very many reports of the presence of a cetacean in the Havre estuary, which could be a fin whale, according to the images and videos we have received.”
However, the NGO said that “so far, the cetacean has not entered freshwater and its health appears to be good. We have stepped up surveillance to ensure that it goes back to the sea of its own accord.”
Nous recevons de très nombreux signalements sur la présence d'un cétacé dans l'estuaire du Havre qui pourrait être un rorqual au vu des images vidéos que nous avons reçues. pic.twitter.com/KhlUIlNh6K— Sea Shepherd France (@SeaShepherdFran) June 30, 2022
The suspected whale has been seen between the Normandy bridge and the Tancarville bridge, the Seine-Maritime prefecture said in a statement.
It said: “The prefecture has brought together all the players concerned, as well as the association Groupe d'étude des cétacés du Cotentin et des mammifères marins de la mer de la Manche (GECC), the organisation Sea Shepherd France and the Pelagis observatory [to keep watch on the case].”
The prefecture said that the “observed animal is moving slowly but with powerful movements, and appears to be in good physical condition. If confirmed [as the suspected species], it is not uncommon to see isolated specimens in coastal areas where the animal is able to feed, including in an estuary".
The GECC has installed an observation area to keep watch on the animal, and boats have been banned from approaching within 100 metres of the mammal.
The Seine-Maritime prefect has invited anyone who sees the mammal “to report any sighting” via the GECC, by telephone on 07 66 17 50 48, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It comes after a sick orca entered the Seine river last month. It was found to be sick, and did not respond well to attempts to steer it back to the open sea.
After authorities had already decided to euthanise it to end its suffering, it was found dead. Its skeleton will now be cleaned and inventoried and added to the mammal collection at the natural history museum in Paris.