Cheer sends orca on its way

05 July 2008

A juvenile orca was released back into Auckland waters today after rescuers raced against the clock in an all night rescue mission to save her life. Unable to be refloated on the east coast due to extreme weather conditions, the  4-year-old dolphin, was driven 43km on the back of a trailer to Auckland’s west coast.

The alarm was raised on Friday afternoon, with reports that an orca was beached on Whatipu, near the Manukau bar; an area renowned for strong currents and difficult boating conditions. DOC staff were quick to respond and go to the animals aid. Markings on the stranded dolphin suggested that other members of her pod may have tried to pull her back into the water.

DOC were joined by orca expert, Dr Ingrid Visser, Project Jonah medics, and Jean-Michel Cousteau, the son of late, legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau, in New Zealand on a filming project.

Rescuers worked over-night to keep the young orca wet and comfortable in two hour shifts, until the morning, where she was taken to Takapuna Beach. Once returned to the water, she was rocked gently to restore her equilibrium and given time to adjust. After a few very tense minutes, the orca began to swim unaided, drawing a tremendous cheer from her rescuers and the large crowd gathered on the shore.

To read the experience of one of the rescuers, one of our own Project Jonah’s medics, click here.
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