International expert flown in to help young orca

July 28, 2016

An international orca expert will arrive in the Bay today to help rescue a young calf separated from its pod.

For the last week the Department of Conservation and Orca Research Trust founder Dr Ingrid Visser have been working to help save a young orca, believed to be between six months and a year old, after it became separated from its pod in the Bay of Plenty.

Dr Visser arranged for international orca expert Jeff Foster to fly over from America to provide assistance and advice.

He previously led the capture of Springer the orca, who was separated from her pod as a calf, and later returned her back to her pod. He also worked to prepare the killer whale Keiko, from the 1993 movie Free Willy, for release into the wild.

Mr Foster was due to fly in at first light today and would be in the Bay by the afternoon.

Department of Conservation senior biodiversity ranger Brad Angus said the department had been monitoring an orca calf in the Bay of Plenty for a week.

“The best thing we can do for this young orca is to minimise interaction and direct contact with people as this will place more stress on the animal,” Mr Angus said.

DOC is asking for the public to stay away from the orca as approaching it would only add to its stress.

Dr Visser also urged members of the public to stay away from the calf because it needed all its energy to survive.

“One of the reasons it can survive on its own is that it has a blubber layer. At the moment it’s metabolising it’s blubber supply,” she said.



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