Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Hope for orca calf pen transfer today

The Porirua site where a stranded juvenile orca is being cared for in a temporary pool remains closed to the public today for safety reasons, the Department of Conservation (DOC) has announced.

DOC and its operation partners are hopeful that the orca can be transferred back to the sea pen late this afternoon, weather dependant.

The bad weather conditions over the weekend meant the orca remained in the temporary pool and his remains stable with successful feeding, DOC said in a statement.

On 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 the Department of Conservation (DOC) with support from Orca Research Trust/Whale Rescue Trust, local iwi Ngati Toa Rangatira, and the local community.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Marine Species Manager, Ian Angus says the focus of today is try and transfer the orca back to the sea pen. 

There have been sightings of orca pods over the weekend, which DOC staff are following up.

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.

Anyone who sights orca pods off the lower North Island’s west coast – particularly between Wellington and Taranaki – is urged to provide as much information as possible to DOC, via wellington@doc.govt.nz or by calling 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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