The bad weather is expected to continue until late Sunday (18 July) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) and its operation partners are entering a maintenance phase of care until the weather clears, after which a transfer back to the sea pen may be possible.
On Sunday, the orca calf – estimated to be between four and six months old – 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.
Ian Angus, DOC’s Marine Species Manager, said the orca transfer to the temporary pool last night (15 July) was done due to health and safety concerns. Sea swells are expected to be as high as 4 metres in coming days.
“The weekend weather is expected to be challenging and by moving the orca to a temporary pool we will be better able to manage its care,” he said.
“As there is no public access to the pool area, we ask people to stay away from the site, and we will provide an update if anything changes.”
There have been no reported sightings of orca pods in the wider lower North Island west coast area and there are no air or sea search efforts expected over the weekend.