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24 November 2017

Orca Rescue Success

An orca stranded on a beach in New Zealand has been successfully rescued and returned to the sea by a team including Project Jonah marine mammal medics, local volunteers and the army.  

Marine mammal medic volunteers in New Zealand have successfully cared for and returned a young orca back to the sea after he or she was found stranded and helpless on a beach.  

Orcas living in New Zealand specialise in eating sting rays, and rescuers think that the juvenile orca may have become stranded after chasing sting rays into shallow water close to shore.  

Rescuers worked hard to keep the orca calm, wet, cool and upright while they waited for the tide to come in. They spent a long night together on the beach wrapping the orca in damp sheets and pouring buckets of seawater over him or her to keep him or her cool and wet.

At first light, soldiers from New Zealand’s army came to dig a channel in the sand, about 1m deep and 20m long, to help re-float the orca in deeper water as the tide came in.  

Much to everyone’s relief, the young orca who is 6m long and weighs about 1.5 tonnes was able to swim out to sea to find his or her family by lunchtime.

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