Animal rescue teams in ニュージーランド have begun trying to reunite a baby orca with its pod after it was found stranded near Wellington.
A pair of teenagers found the male calf caught in the rocks near Plimmerton, north of the city, with minor injuries, on Sunday afternoon.
Rescuers from the Department of Conservation (DOC) and volunteers from the Orca Research Trust have been taking shifts, in freezing temperatures, to care for the calf since it separated from its pod.
The rescue teams were forced to relocate the mammal into a makeshift enclosure on Sunday night when attempts to find its pod failed. It has since returned to a fenced off section in the ocean.
The local iwi (tribe), Ngāti Toa, named the roughly six-month old calf Toa, meaning “strong” or “brave”, at a ceremony on Tuesday morning.
Dr Ingrid Visser, the founder of the Orca Research Trust, told Australian Associated Press she had not lost hope of finding Toa’s family.
“Orcas travel between 100 そして 150 kilometres a day but they don’t go in a straight line. They could turn around and come back here tomorrow. We just don’t know,” Visser said.
The roaming nature of the animal means if a killer whale pod was found, it was most likely to be Toa’s family, 彼女は言いました.
The DOC is urging the public to report any sightings of orca pods.
Hundreds of Wellingtonians have joined the search, with locals stationing themselves at headlands, walking the coastline and searching by boat or air. The hunt for the calf’s pod has even extended up to Whanganui, nearly 200km north of Wellington.
The DOC said one pod has been sighted in Marlborough Sounds, at the top of the South Island, roughly 100km south-west.
If Toa’s family cannot be located, the next step would be to search for another pod with calves. Orca mothers are known to adopt babies that are not their own, providing they are lactating, Visser told AAP.