New Zealand: Concern for stranded baby orca

Orca baby stranded in New Zealand: Helpers search for the herd and the mother

Updated Jul 13, 2021 at 11:39am

  • A baby orca was stranded in New Zealand on Sunday.
  • So far, volunteers have tried in vain to return the animal to its herd.
  • Young orca should still desperately need breast milk.

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A stranded baby orca has been making headlines in New Zealand for days. A young killer whale was spotted in the shallow waters off Plemerton Beach near the capital, Wellington, on Sunday – and there was no trace of its herd or its mother.

Orca expert Ingrid Visser told the New Zealand Herald that the marine mammals may have had to leave the four- to six-month-old male behind. When the tide started, they apparently failed to free the little boy from the rock pool.

Volunteers are looking for stoves

Meanwhile, there are many volunteers at the service, says Visser, who is also the founder of the Orca Research Trust. Some took turns in the water to secure and calm the youth.

Others at sea searched for the herd – so far to no avail. A local resident made his plane available to hunt for killer whales along the coast, according to Radio New Zealand.

The miniature orca name already exists: the local Maori christened it “Toa”, which means something like “brave” or “strong”. Meanwhile, helpers were desperately searching for a nearby flock because the little one was in dire need of breast milk, she said. Female orcas are known to be able to adopt whale calves as surrogate mothers. (dpa/ary)

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