The orca whale, which was discovered dead in the Seine at the end of May, apparently has a different story behind it than previously assumed.
The whale had strayed into the French river and never found its way out.
For two weeks, helpers tried to guide the animal back into the sea - unsuccessfully.
The dead animal was then examined in a laboratory in Paris, and an autopsy report is now available.
The authorities in France had previously assumed that the animal had been ill.
As the prefecture announced at the time, tumors and a rash could be seen on aerial photographs of the animal.
The orca must have suffered from a far advanced fungal infestation, which could also have an impact on the brain.
As it turned out, however, the animal could also have been intentionally injured: As "Le Parisien" reported on Sunday, ammunition from a handgun was found in the flesh of the orca.
10,000 euros against information
According to the report, the marine protection organization Sea Shepherd has offered a reward of 10,000 euros for all information leading to the perpetrator.
The investigation is ongoing, the newspaper reports, pointing out that such an act in France can result in three years in prison and a fine of 150,000 euros.
"The most likely hypothesis is that a fisherman was shot," says Lamya Essemlali, a Sea Shepherd activist.
According to the organization, by offering a sum of money in 2019, information was successfully obtained about who had beheaded seals in Finistère.
However, the orca whale from the Seine did not die directly from the gunshot wound: "All we know is that the bullet did not cause death.
The shot was fired from afar, the bullet didn't penetrate the bones," says animal rights activist Sophie Poncet.
More knowledge from the tissue could not be derived for the criminal investigation.
The time and place of the crime remained unknown.
Sea Sepherd's Essemlali, referring to a fin whale also lost in the Seine, says there could also be a "sad series" behind the orca's death.
In any case, the search for the perpetrators continues.