No new concerns for orca calf's health despite its 'evening zoomies'

Officials were earlier tonight concerned by a change in baby orca Toa's behaviour. 

Toa the orca calf. Source: 1 NEWS

Just after 6pm, the orca calf started doing "evening zoomies" in its pen near a wharf at Hongoeka.

Volunteers in the water let Department of Conservation staff know about the "zoomies", but a vet checked Toa and the organisation has "no new concerns". 

The stranded orca calf is described as still being in a stable condition. 

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The news comes as efforts continued to reunite Toa with its pod, after it was found stranded and struggling in a rock pool north of Plimmerton on Sunday. 

There was a new reported sighting of an orca pod off the Taranaki coast today.

It is not known if the orca pod is the same one the stranded calf has come from, so DOC, Whale Rescue/Orca Rescue and local iwi Ngati Toa are seeking to confirm the sighting before further decisions are made.

Ian Angus, DOC's marine species manager, said the likelihood of deteriorating weather in the Wellington region in coming days means additional effort is being put into erecting stronger structures for those at the scene.

Improvement of the temporary pen, in which the infant orca is being kept, is also part of current planning and work at the site, he said.

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Efforts to find toa’s pod failed despite a sighting today. Source: 1 NEWS

Two reported sightings of a pod off the Kāpiti Coast, including a sighting this morning near Kāpiti Island, could not be verified despite searching.

The orca calf is believed to be between four and six months old.

Anyone who sights orca pods off the lower North Island’s west coast — between Wellington and Taranaki — is urged to provide as much information as possible to DOC, via or by calling 0800 DOC HOT.

Essential information includes location of the pod, direction of travel of the animals, and photographs or videos which clearly show the saddle/back markings of the animals and their dorsal fins.