Expert says trapped orca knew rescuer was helping
Wed, 08 Feb 2012 6:23p.m.
By Emma Jolliff
An expert says the orca that was rescued by a diver yesterday off the Coromandel did not struggle because she knew she was being helped.
Rhys Cochrane filmed the stricken whale whose tail was caught up in crayfish pot line.
The orca is female and is estimated to be between six and eight years old.
Orca expert Dr Ingrid Visser says she is clearly calling to her family and her calls would sound more piercing if she was panicking.
“It's not a happy whale but it's not panic stress,” she says. “You can see that as well with the behaviour, the animal is very calm.”
Mr Cochrane came to its rescue and cut it free after he was contacted by the Department of Conservation.
“There were cuts all over the orca's face down the body and tail; he was bleeding a little bit.”
He says the orca got her abrasions from rubbing up against the rope trying to get free, “so he's obviously been there for a wee while”.
Five or six other orcas nearby, while the orca “didn't seem to mind” Mr Cochrane helping him.
“Maybe he even knew I was trying to help him.”
Dr Visser says orca are really smart animals and they “know when you are helping them”.
She says marks on top of the trapped whale’s head looks like other teeth marks from the other orca who had probably been trying to get the rope off her.
There are fewer than 200 orcas living around New Zealand. They are on the nationally critical list.
“People shouldn't just jump in and swim with them, they are a top predator,” says Dr Visser. “Having said that, no one in the world has ever been attacked from an orca in the wild.”
“There've been three people killed in captivity but no one in the wild.”
Two years ago one orca in Florida drowned its trainer by pulling her under the water.
Orcas live for around 80 years and feed primarily on stingrays.
They have been tangled like this before but it is not common.
“It's not the fault of the cray fishermen, no one should blame any of the fishermen, it's just a genuine mistake,” says Dr Visser who thinks the orca is likely to recover well.
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17/01/2013 10:37:24 a.m.
Poor little orca. She suffered a lot, but she is free and with her family now. Unlike Morgan, who is about the same age, captive and abused by a disfunctional group of whales in the goddamned Loro Parque.
FREE MORGAN - http://www.freemorgan.org/
27/11/2012 3:14:15 p.m.
luving orcas wrote:
I sure love these orcas.
I would want to swim wif them one fine day given the chance :) they're just awesome...too smart to be a whale haas
12/02/2012 3:42:57 p.m.
hahei is a beautiful beach to swim at, turcoise water and big tuatuas mmmmmm i gotta get back there mind you i got beauitful beaches were i am in the north.so blessed?
10/02/2012 8:06:42 a.m.
"It's not the fault of the cray fishermen, no one should blame any of the fishermen, it's just a genuine mistake,” says Dr Visser."
Sorry Dr Visser, but I disagree. If humans hadn't put the fishing gear there, this accident would not have happened, period. It *is* our fault as a species. We could choose not to put these garbage into the oceans for our own purposes, but instead, we did, and this cetacean may have died. Thankfully Mr Cochrane was able to free the distressed animal to rejoin her pod!
10/02/2012 12:19:07 a.m.
Tena Isakson wrote:
love orcas and would be a dream come true to help out in some way like divers and others. I appreciate here beauty, charmand prsonalities. cant wait to see one in real life. my kids have come to love whales as much as I have and are igger to see one hopefully soon in nature
9/02/2012 1:00:14 p.m.
or he was to tired to fight anymore poor baby
9/02/2012 12:38:31 p.m.
Tony Brisker wrote:
outstanding! way to go! beautiful and intelligent animals, glad she could be saved!
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