Orca Update – 10.30am, Thursday 22 July 2021
There was no change overnight for the orca calf at Plimmerton Boating Club, with the next steps to be determined by the weather forecast.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Marine Species Manager Ian Angus says the orca calf fed and rested well overnight and remains stable.
“We are looking at the feeding regime to make sure the orca calf is getting the right food and consulting with international orca experts about the species’ nutritional needs.”
He says the orca calf’s welfare is assessed daily with decisions being made based on what is best for the animal. A range of scenarios are being planned for.
“Whether the orca calf will remain in the temporary pool or move back to a sea pen today will be determined after a detailed assessment of the weather forecast.”
Any sightings of orca around the country should be reported to DOC HOT 0800 362 468 or via email@example.com. If the pod is in the lower North Island or Marlborough region this would give the best chance of successful reunification.
“We remain focused on trying to find the specific pod the orca calf has come from. This can be verified based on markings on the orca, so any photos or video that people can provide alongside reported sightings are extremely helpful.”
A DOC boat is out on the water, but as New Zealand orca pods have been recorded moving up to 160km a day, reported sightings from boaties and the public remain valuable as it provides the information needed to do a detailed search.
Ian Angus says reported sightings are being actively gathered and validated before a decision is made whether to investigate further. Boats or planes are being used to investigate where possible.
The Plimmerton Boating Club site remains closed to the public to reduce stress for the orca calf.
Last Sunday (11 July), the orca calf was stranded on rocks near Plimmerton, north of Wellington. An ongoing operation to care for the orca calf is being led by DOC with support from Orca Research Trust/Whale Rescue Trust, local iwi Ngāti Toa Rangatira, and the local community.
DOC, veterinarians, and Whale Rescue/Orca Research Trust are receiving regular advice from international orca experts and veterinarians – information proving vital as decisions are made.