Thursday, July 18, 2024

Air search for whale pod today

Whale rescuers will today focus on the search for a stranded juvenile orca’s pod in and around Wellington after sightings were reported this morning at Seatoun and Makara.

“Today’s weather offers us the best a good chance to look for the orca pod, especially with the credible sightings near Wellington,” said Department of Conservation (DOC) Marine Species Manager, Ian Angus.

“We will have a boat in the water and the aeroclub are helping with an air search. If you do see an orca pod please report it straight away and make sure you keep a 50 metre distance from it.”

The orca remains in the temporary pool while seawater quality is being assessed and weather conditions monitored, he said.

“Moving the orca can create stress for it, so with bad weather expected from Wednesday evening it may remain in the temporary pool until the weather clears later in the week, rather than moving it twice,” said Mr Angus.

“We are assessing wind and swell conditions and are waiting for updates on the water quality, both of which impact the safety of the sea pen for the orca and volunteers.

“The orca had a case of colic last night but vets have been monitoring it and it seems to have recovered. The orca is stable this morning in the temporary pool.”

The Porirua site continues to remain closed to the public today for safety reasons and consideration of the orca’s welfare.

Please report any orca sightings to marinemammals@doc.govt.nz or 0800 DOC HOT. Essential information includes location of the pod, direction of travel of the animals, and photographs or videos which clearly show the saddle/back markings of the animals and their dorsal fins.

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