October 18, 2016
First Orca Whale spotted in Akaroa Harbour this season
Black Cat Cruises staff spotted the first orca of the season in Akaroa Harbour this week, a month earlier than the first spotting last year.
Black Cat Cruises Sales & Marketing Manager Natasha Lombart says that although technically there is no orca season in New Zealand, Black Cat Cruises have a few orca sightings each year and they tend to happen in the spring.
“Most people don’t know, that with the exception of human beings, orca are the most widely distributed mammal on earth,” says Lombart.
“The pod of orca our team saw in the Harbour today comprised of a mother and her calf, one large male, two juveniles and possibly another male. Females and males differ in length, with males being longer and bulkier than females. Females have smaller, more curved dorsal fins, and smaller flippers.”
The first spotting comes on the back of confirmation from Trip Advisor and their booking agent Viatour that Black Cat Cruises are not included in a ban, recently announced by TripAdvisor, that it will stop promoting tours that fail to meet animal welfare guidelines, particularly those involving “physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species”.
“As a certified SMART (Sustainable Marine Mammal Actions in Recreation and Tourism) and eco-tourism operator we applaud Trip Advisor’s move. Black Cat Cruises were never included in Trip Advisor’s “no touching of wild animals” policy, whereby it will no longer sell tickets to attractions where travellers come into physical contact with captive, wild or endangered animals.
“We already comply with their environmental regulations”, Lombart said. “Unlike many overseas operators, tours in New Zealand do not allow people to hold onto the dolphins, and nor should they.”