Lamya Essemlali: “There is an emergency”
Where are the discussions with the State services?
To the point of death. We desperately try to reach the prefecture, but as there is the bridge, there are only the on-call services. We weren’t invited to yesterday’s meeting (Wednesday, editor’s note), so we don’t know what’s coming up. We are trying to find out from people who have participated…
Yet you say that there is an emergency?
We must at least be concerned to see how the killer whale reacts to the approach of a boat, to know if its condition allows it to go back to the sea. What is certain is that if it does not leave very quickly towards the sea, if she stays there, she is doomed to die. It would be an easy “solution”… but fatal.
The best possible scenario is that she returns to the sea on her own.
How much time do we have?
It is not an animal that lives in fresh water, and yet it makes apnea dives of about fifteen minutes. These elements suggest that there is a window of a few days to hope that it will approach the sea on its own, which would be by far its greatest chance of survival.
You know what to do, how to intervene?
We have boats, they can be mobilized very quickly, just like our team, 24 hours a day. With Sea Shepherd, we have already escorted, “driven” dolphins, in groups, in very different contexts: it was for come out of the fjords where they were going to be massacred. It sure is easier when it comes to healthy groups of animals.
However, I don’t think there are any experts on this, even though it was done with whales.
But you can’t intervene like that…
Nope ! Without authorization, we have neither the right to approach the orca, nor to attempt anything.
What do we know about the animal’s state of health?
He’s not good: he’s very thin, he has traces of fungus, that’s the effect of the fresh water. Despite everything, what is encouraged is that it hunts, it continues to feed, it also shows, for the moment, enough energy to return to the sea.
But that might not be the case in a few days. This is why there is urgency.
It is an animal of one ton, which measures 4 to 5 meters… Are precautions necessary?
Obviously, it should not be approached within 10 meters, there is a risk that exists, but in our opinion that should not be enough to block an intervention.
Do we know how the orca got there?
No, but there are several hypotheses: she may be sick, tired and/or disoriented. She may also have been driven out by the matriarch of her group, if her mother is dead for example. It’s quite common.
What is certain is that this is the first time that an orca has gone so far up the Seine.