An extraordinary orca encounter
Eleven year old KCC member Poppy tells us about her unforgettable experience (and possibly the best Father’s Day present ever) whilst out fishing with her dad.
I went fishing today with my dad in Kawau Bay and we only caught 2 fish but we saw a massive pod of over 30 killer whales. I was videoing and photographing them and I turned around and a massive killer whale jumped out of the air and I got a photo of it right in the air. I loved watching them. They were very fascinating. We also saw a mum and babies and huge big big adult ones too.
What do we know about orca in Aotearoa?
- Adult killer whales can reach 9 metres in length – almost the same length as a bus!
- New Zealand’s orca population is made up of fewer than 200 whales.
- Orca are a threatened species.
- New Zealand orca are unique as they are the only population that has been seen hunting for rays and sharks.
But there is a problem… the population doesn’t seem to growing and researchers think pollution is playing a part.
Because Orca are at the top of the food-chain, they are eating a lot of prey to satisfy their appetites. Unfortunately the creatures that they are eating are themselves eating polluted prey or absorbing pollution from the water. When a top predator, like the orca ingests all of the pollution in the chain, it’s called “bioaccumulation and a bad diet isn’t good for breeding females.
What can you do to help?
Copy and colour in our poster in the latest issue of Wild Things and display it at your school or in your local library or community centre. If you’re not a KCC member yet, download and print the poster here. Help us spread the word that we need to keep our oceans pollution free!
If you see orca give The Orca Project a call 0800 SEE ORCA (0800 733 6722), as they like to know where they are living.
Learn more about Orca with this great fact sheet by DOC.
Get involved with Project Jonah and train as a volunteer to help stranded orca.