All New Zealand is concerned about a baby orca stranded in Wellington (New Zealand) on Sunday. Video recordings show how people free the tiny marine creature from their predicament and allow the animal to return to the water in a deeper sea basin.
But the sad thing is that there is no trace of the herd to which the baby orca belongs.
Young orca are still trapped in rock pools at low tide
Marine mammals will likely have to leave the four- to six-month-old male behind, said orca expert Ingrid Visser of the New Zealand Herald. When the tide started, they apparently failed to free the little boy from the rock pool.
Many volunteers are working now, says Visser, who is also the founder of the Orca Research Trust. Volunteers take turns in the water to secure and calm the young animal. The miniature orca name already exists: the local Maori christened it “Toa”, which means something like “brave” or “strong”.
The little one needs mother’s milk
Meanwhile, other aides at sea are searching for the herd – so far to no avail. Radio New Zealand even reported that a local resident made his plane available to search for killer whales along the coast. Finding a herd is especially important because young orca are in dire need of breast milk. Female orcas have been known to take whale calves from other mothers.
In parallel with the research, experienced veterinarians from the region were consulted to prepare a milk-alternative food for the pup, New Zealand’s Dominion Post wrote. However, the procedure does take some time: “We hope we can do that by tomorrow morning so we can feed the orca with it tomorrow,” Visser told the newspaper. In order to prevent the young animal from becoming dehydrated, it was fed a special electrolyte food on Monday night.
Local rescue grows in global relief effort
Although the hunt for a herd of whales has not been successful so far, the whale expert is optimistic. There was a similar case before – with a happy ending.
Visser also liked the way New Zealanders work together: “What started as a local rescue of a baby orca has grown into a national campaign that is now well known around the world,” she says. (SDA / une)
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