A search for a lost baby orca, now named Toa, has resumed near Wellington after it was found stranded at Plimmerton beach on Sunday afternoon. Despite efforts to locate its pod, the calf has remained in the hands of the Department of Conservation (DoC) and Orca Research Trust staff for the past two days. The DoC, Whale Rescue, Project Jonah members of the public, boats, and a plane from the Kāpiti Aero Club have been involved in the search.
According to a recent update from the DoC, a pod of orca has been sighted in the Marlborough Sounds. Meanwhile, veterinarians and marine experts are closely monitoring the calf’s health and condition. The juvenile orca has lacerations on its tail fin and one of its pectoral fins. However, the animal is reportedly doing better this morning than it was last night.
The next few days will be crucial in finding the pod. The plan is to rehabilitate the calf, find the pod, and reconnect the animals. Letting the calf out on its own is not an option at the moment. The DoC and other agencies are urging the public to report any sightings of orcas along the coastline to aid in the search.
The DoC is constantly reviewing its plan for the orca, with a focus on the animal’s welfare and a successful outcome. The experts are hoping that the strong maternal bonds between the pod and the calf will lead to a positive outcome, with the family remaining around the Wellington region.