Juvenile orca
Image: Nathan Pettigrew | ©

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


With favourable weather conditions and credible sightings reported, the focus of today is the search for the juvenile orca’s pod in and around Wellington.

Date:  20 July 2021

Sightings were reported this morning at Seatoun and Makara.

There will be air and sea searches today. Please report any orca sightings to marinemammals@doc.govt.nz or 0800 DOC HOT. Essential information includes location of the pod, direction of travel of the animals, and photographs or videos which clearly show the saddle/back markings of the animals and their dorsal fins.

“Today’s weather offers us the best a good chance to look for the orca pod, especially with the credible sightings near Wellington. We will have a boat in the water and the aeroclub are helping with an air search. If you do see an orca pod please report it straight away and make sure you keep a 50 m distance from it,” said Ian Angus, Department of Conservation (DOC) Marine Species Manager.

The orca remains in the temporary pool while seawater quality is being assessed and weather conditions monitored. 

“Moving the orca can create stress for it, so with bad weather expected from Wednesday evening it may remain in the temporary pool until the weather clears later in the week, rather than moving it twice,” said Ian Angus.

“We are assessing wind and swell conditions and are waiting for updates on the water quality, both of which impact the safety of the sea pen for the orca and volunteers.

“The orca had a case of colic last night but vets have been monitoring it and it seems to have recovered. The orca is stable this morning in the temporary pool.”

The Porirua site continues to remain closed to the public today for safety reasons and consideration of the orca’s welfare.

Last Sunday (11 July), 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 continuing to receive regular advice from international orca experts and veterinarians – information proving vital as decisions are made.

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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