You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Five orca dead in BoP stranding

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/05/2017
A file picture of an Orca © Maxi Jonas/REUTERS A file picture of an Orca

Five orca are dead following a stranding in the Bay of Plenty.

The Department of Conservation says four of the killer whales were already dead when it was notified about the stranding at Cape Runaway on Wednesday afternoon.

While local tangata whenua managed to refloat the smaller of the two remaining animals, the larger died before a seven-person DOC team from Whakatane arrived on Thursday morning, the department said.

"Our plan was always to get a response team into the area to work with locals on refloating the remaining Orca and working with hapu on burial of the dead animals," operations manager Jade King-Hazel said.

But she said it was standard procedure to wait until daylight to try to refloat stranded whales.

"Safety of staff and volunteers working on these operations is paramount."

Local resident Joe Rua, who has worked on previous strandings and had extensive experience in the area, was contacted by the department to help establish what help was needed.

"DOC remained in contact with Mr Rua, and planned to fly a small response team by helicopter into the area, but weather conditions prevented this," Ms King-Hazel said.

The department was now working with local hapu and Te Runanga o Te Whanau a Apanui on burial plans.

DOC thanked tangata whenua and the local community, saying support in the area was overwhelming.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon