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A statement released by Whale Rescue on Facebook says Toa, an Orca calf, passed away on the evening of Friday in the sea pen at Plimmerton Boating Club.
His condition rapidly deteriorated after thirteen days of being separated from its pod.
The cause of death is yet to be ruled out.
“We have to report Toa passed away, he rapidly deteriorated, and vets on site rushed to his aid. But were unable to save him,” the statement said.
“There are no further details as to what happened as you can all imagine we are devastated. No more updates will be posted.”
Image: CC/ Whale-rescue.org
Department of Conservation staff and the Orca Research Trust, local iwi Ngāti Toa Rangatira and community attempted to care for him as much as possible.
“We were always aware that the longer he was in captivity, away from his mother, the more likely it was that his health would deteriorate,” said DOC Marine Species Manager, Ian Angus.
“Toa passed quickly, surrounded by love with his last days made as comfortable as possible. Throughout this amazing effort, we’ve all been united in wanting to do the best for Toa. Finding and reuniting him with his pod was still our goal as we headed into the weekend.”
“This calf had captured hearts, and no one wanted to believe that he didn’t have a fighting chance. We will continue to treat Toa with the dignity and respect he deserves.” — Arrangements are underway with Ngāti Toa.
Toa was initially found stranded on rocks near Plimmerton, north of Wellington on July 11.
He was measured less than 2.5m long and thought to be between two to six months old.
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