Nibble, Funky Monkey, Pickle and the rest of their whale family were spotted hunting for stingrays in the Tauranga Harbour entrance this weekend.
Orca were spotted in the Tauranga Harbour on Saturday. Photos: supplied.
The pod of orca were seen coming into the harbour entrance about 8.30am on Saturday, staying in the waters until early afternoon.
Orca Research Trust founder and principal scientist Ingrid Visser says the pod included two adult whales called Nibble and Funky Monkey – named after his twisted dorsal fin – and a young female born in September 2010 called Pickle.
There was also Pickle’s mother and some other orcas that the pod frequently travel with, says Ingrid.
“They were last seen on April 9 at the Poor Knights Islands out near Whangarei. The day before that they were in the Bay of Islands.”
Ingrid says this particular pod of orcas have been seen a number of times in the Tauranga Harbour.
"They’re in there hunting for [sting] rays. They usually spend a few hours in the harbour hunting and then they head back out.”
At this stage, Ingrid says they’re not sure whether the pod went further south or turned around and headed north again.
“So, we would certainly appreciate any reports if anybody has seen them.”
If people spot any orcas, contact 0800 7336722.
Ingrid wants people to remember it is illegal to swim with orca. “They should never approach closer than 50m and if they’re in a boat, they shouldn’t be going faster than five knots or no wake speed.”
Funky Monkey swimming in the Bay of Islands on April 8. Photo by: Dr Ingrid N. Visser / Orca Research Trust.
Funky Monkey and Pickle in the Bay of Islands. Photo by: Dr Ingrid N. Visser / Orca Research Trust.
Nibble in the Bay of Islands. Photo by: Dr Ingrid N. Visser / Orca Research Trust.