Orca spotted near Matua

Orca seen in Tauranga Harbour. Photos: Simon Darmoday.

A couple of orca have been spotted in Tauranga Harbour near Matua this morning.

SunLive has received several reports from people who have sighted the mammal from Kulim Park.

Photos sent in by Simon Darmody shows at least two orca swimming in the harbour.

Simon took the photos from Beach Road.

Some people who were out for a morning paddle had a close encounter with the mammal.

While the general rule is to stay away from them, it can be hard to do if they sneak up without warning.

Orca typically come into the harbour to feed, particularly on stingrays.

Whilst orca are impressive animals the DOC do have some important advice regarding how people should interact with them if they come into contact.

Vessels should not be within 50m of a killer whale. No more than three vessels should be within 300m of any marine mammal.

Your vessel should approach orca from behind and to the side, do not circle them, obstruct their path or cut through any group.

Operate your boat slowly and quietly at 'no wake' speed when within 300m of a killer whale and you should avoid sudden noises that could startle the animals.

Sightings of orca can be reported to the DOC by calling 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468), or by filling out an online form. Sightings are always of interest and help increase the DOC’s knowledge of cetacean distribution and movements around New Zealand.

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