“We have still to confirm whether or not this is the orca’s pod, and there are currently people in the Sounds trying to get photographs to confirm.
We welcome photographs from the public if anyone does spot the pod, but do ask them to keep a 50m distance,” says Ian Angus, Department of Conservation (DOC) Marine Species Manager.
“We had been reviewing moving the orca back into the seapen today, but we have decided not to.
“Following the storms, Greater Wellington Regional Council have issued a health warning advising the harbour is currently unsuitable for swimming. This means it would not be safe for our volunteers to go into the seapen with the orca right now.
“We are also keeping an eye on the weather, and there is some more rough weather forecast for Wednesday. We want to minimise the number of times we move the orca.
“We will be keeping an eye on the weather and water health advisories over the next few days, along with the orca’s health to guide a decision about when to move it back.
“This morning vets carried out standard health checks and all the results fell within normal parameters.
“Although the calf is still in a stable condition, it has been in our care for more than a week now. We are conscious this is a long time for the calf to be away from its pod and mother, and to be kept in temporary enclosures.
“To help reduce the stress as much as possible, we will continue to restrict access to the site and appreciate the ongoing respect and support from the public.
Last Sunday (11/7), 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.
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.