Two days of Orca

Two days of Orca

A call for orca in the Whangarei Harbour turned out to be bottlenose dolphins.  We were only with them for about 20 minutes before we had a call that there were orca approximately 1 hours boat drive to the north.  As Dr Visser was working with a film crew making a documentary about her research (a co-production by the BBC & Animal Planet), we all set off.  We were in two boats and eventually found the animals near the Limerick Islands.  The group consisted of at least 12 animals, including Ben (the orca who stranded in 1997 and was rescued, only to be run over by a boat in 1998 – hence his split dorsal fin), Roundtop (an adult male orca who stranded in the Hokianga Harbour in 1996 and subsequently rescued himself) and Putita (the sub-adult male who stranded as a youngster in 2007 and then again as a sub-adult male).  Accompanying the group were a number of unnamed animals, including a female with a neonate (brand new baby) who had the top of it’s fin bitten off.  The wound to the top of the fin was still raw and subsequent analysis of the images taken show the likelihood of the bite mark matching orca teeth!

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