Efforts to save the orca calf stranded at Plimmerton are continuing.
Image: Leon Berard | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The orca calf at the centre of a rescue effort in Plimmerton near Wellington remains stable tonight (Tuesday, 13 July) after specialist veterinary treatment.

Date:  13 July 2021

The orca calf – believed to be between four and six months old – stranded on rocks just north of Hongaeka marae on Sunday afternoon. It is being kept in a temporary enclosure near a wharf at Plimmerton with volunteers from Whale Rescue and Orca Research Trust working alongside Department of Conservation (DOC) and local iwi Ngati Toa Rangitira.

Ian Angus, DOC Marine Species Manager, says the animal’s welfare remains the priority. The calf is being closely monitored and has received specialist veterinary treatment today. The animal is being provided with fluids and electrolytes by the veterinarian.

More specialist veterinary assessment and further treatment has been arranged for tomorrow morning.

“Rehabilitating the animal and reuniting it with its pod remains our objective. We’re very focussed on its welfare aware of the need to ensure it isn’t suffering,” Ian Angus says.

A sighting of a pod earlier today near Raumati saw DOC dispatch a boat to confirm if it’s the family of the stranded calf. The description of the pod matches eyewitnesses reports from when the calf stranded on Sunday.

Anyone who has sighted any Orca pod is urged to stick with the pod for as long as possible, report the location and direction of the pod’s travel, and take videos or photographs – and share those via 0800 DOC HOT or email marinemammals@doc.govt.nz.

Search efforts paused tonight and will be reassessed tomorrow morning after further discussion with veterinarians.

Ian Angus says the situation remains complex and challenging – particularly given the very young age of the orca.

“We are leaving all our options open and have begun planning for various outcomes. We’re trying to make good decisions based on the best possible advice we can get from national and international experts.”

Mr Angus says DOC appreciates the continued support of the public but is asking people to respect the rehabilitation efforts of the team at site.

Further information

Updates on the stranded juvenile orca in Porirua

View all updates on the stranded orca


For media enquiries contact:

Email: media@doc.govt.nz

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