Weta Digital staff and film director Sir Peter Jackson have created a new “super teat” for the stranded orca calf Toa to drink milk from.
It’s been 13 days since Toa was separated from his orca pod near Wellington and hundreds of volunteers and the Department of Conservation are caring for him, which includes regular feeding of milk supplements.
Dan Bennett, Gino Acevedo and Rob Skene from Weta Digital and Weta Workshop designed a new and improved “super teat” for Toa – with parts of the design donated by Sir Peter Jackson.
“I told Peter about the story and everything, he’s quite excited,” Acevedo said.
Acevedo said he worked with vets and specialists to help design the feeding device.
“It acts just like the mother’s teat where the mother’s teet actually has muscles it can actually push the milk into his mouth while he’s actually got his tongue wrapped around the teat itself and sucking,” he said.
“They did a feeding today with this and it worked out great and it worked out even better than the prototype before,” he said.
Skene said “it’s been a fantastic project to be a part of” while Bennett was excited to work on a project that wasn’t movie related.
“It’s great to actually be able to contribute to a cause like this,” Skene said.
“It’s just great to have the opportunity to actually go and make something that’s not sort of film related you know, something to help out,” Bennett said.
The Department of Conservation have found an orca pod south of Raumati this afternoon and are currently trying to confirm if it is Toa’s pod.