The 4-metre (13.12-foot) orca was first spotted at the mouth of the river on May 16 between the port of Le Havre and the town of Honfleur in Normandy, but has since then traveled dozens of kilometers (miles) further upstream and is now west of the city of Rouen.
Several French media outlets showed footage of the killer whale in the river, its dorsal fin sticking out of the water and its distinctive black and white colouring showing as it comes up for air. No rescue attempts are being made for fear of stressing the animal further, authorities said.
“Its dorsal fin is bent which is a sign of bad health for orcas. It has lost a lot of weight, it looks like this animal is in a bad condition,” Nicolas Ampen of the French Office for Biodiversity in Normandy said on TF1 television.
In May 2021, a grey whale got lost in the Mediterranean, thousands of miles (km) away from its natural habitat in the Pacific Ocean, and cruised along the French coast for days before biologists lost its trace. Read full story
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Sandra Maler)