Orcas back for second Wellington visit

Last updated 13:16 05/03/2013

Orcas stay in Wellington Harbour

Orcas in Wellington Harbour

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Those who missed the orcas yesterday have been given a second chance to see the majestic animals.

Onlookers reported seeing a pair of orcas, which appeared to be an adult and calf, making their way from the central city waterside past Oriental Bay and into Evan's Bay.

Another onlooker said on Tuesday: "There were three pods of Orcas in the harbour today.

"At first (about 12.20pm) the larger pod of 5-6 were over by the Port. There were two others by the Chaffers Marina and another two that were swimming around the middle of the harbour but closer to Oriental Bay.

"The large pod then swam over to the middle and met up with the rest, they then swam along by Oriental Bay then submerged."

The orcas' visit yesterday sparked widespread attention and interest on social media.

They were spotted trying to enter the Frank Kitts lagoon, probably to chase the stingray which could often be seen there.

Just a few days ago, a large pod of dolphins also paid Wellington a visit.

Trevor Pheaker yesterday watched a pod of four orcas come close to entering the narrow entrance to the Frank Kitts lagoon before thinking better of it and turning around.

The orcas had come within 7 metres of bystanders on the shore.

Department of Conservation marine mammal expert Louise Chilvers said orcas visited the harbour up to five times a year.

''They are ray specialists and they are coming in to gobble up rays,'' she said.

They usually travelled in pack groups but, while they were not known to hurt humans, people should keep their distance.

''An orca has never killed a human in the wild ever but they are still wild animals.''

Orcas were among the most intelligent animals and hunted in packs. Overseas, they were known to come onto beaches after prey but were not known to do that in New Zealand.

They did however, come close to the shore in New Zealand, Dr Chilvers said. 

Do you have pictures of the orcas? Send them to us, with you name, to web@dompost.co.nz

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- The Dominion Post

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