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Another (suspected) whale spotted in Seine river in northern France

It comes just a month after the death of a sick orca in the same river, but experts say that so far this suspected mammal appears to be in good health

The mammal is suspected to be a whale but appears to be in good health so far (image for illustration only) Pic: Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock

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.” 

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

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. 

Read more: Video: Orca whale seen in Seine river but authorities cannot intervene 

Read more: Update: sick orca whale trapped in the Seine found dead 

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.

Related articles

Skeleton of orca that died in the Seine to enter Paris museum  

Sea life organisations question handling of orca that died in Seine 

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