• Rescued Orca visits Napier Port with calf

Rescued Orca visits Napier Port with calf

An orca rescued from entanglement almost a decade ago has been spotted with its calf at Napier Port. 

The video, which has proven popular online with 29k views, shows the two swimming close to four other animals.

A Napier Port spokesperson said the orca was spotted heading down to Ahuriri and back again.

"It is not uncommon for orcas to be spotted in the Hawke's Bay region throughout the year. There have been a few pods spotted around Napier already this spring."

"At Napier Port, we are guided by our marine mammal monitoring protocols in regards to any type of construction works taking place below the water line. This precaution helps to minimise the effect of underwater noise, even though the orcas rarely swim into the port harbour itself.
"For example, our current re-fendering work on 3 Wharf was halted for approximately 45 minutes to allow a safe and quiet passage for the orcas swimming past the port yesterday. Normal port operations are not impacted as part of this precaution." 

Orca Research Trust founder and Principal Scientist Dr Ingrid Visser says New Zealanders are so lucky to have wildlife that can be seen in such close proximity.

"This is fantastic – what a lovely view for the folks on shore."

Dr Visser confirmed the orca on the far left, close to the camera is Dian (NZ51). 

Dian (NZ51), an adult female orca, was released from a cray pot line entanglement in 2014  by the Orca Research Trust.

During her ordeal, she was supported by her most recent and previous calves at the time. Without their help, she could not surface to breathe. 

Dian has been resighted every year since she was disentangled. She has a small dent in the tip of her fin. 

Visser says the orca swimming closest to the camera is likely to be one of the two calves described in her story, but can't tell which one from this angle.

"They are there hunting for rays. The New Zealand Coastal orca – who are a unique population of orca – specialise in hunting for elasmobranchs (rays, sharks, skates)."

Department of Conservation Marine Technical Advisor Hannah Hendriks says Orca are regularly seen around New Zealand’s entire coastline where they can often be seen hunting rays and teaching their young how to hunt.

“We recommend, if you are lucky enough to see orca, to please keep your distance by keeping boats and kayaks 50m away, turning your engine off, and enjoying the experience.

"Orca are generally not aggressive towards humans, however swimming with them is prohibited for the safety of both people and the dolphins. We’d appreciate anyone who spots them to report their sighting to DOC via our website."

Anyone who sees orca is asked to call the orca Hotline on 0800 SEE ORCA. The Orca Research Trust can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/OrcaResearchTrust/ and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/orcaresearchtrust/