17 Jan 2020

Orca in distress report turns out to be seal in good health

11:23 am on 17 January 2020

The Department of Conservation has found initial reports of an orca dragging a buoy along the coast in Wellington was actually a seal and it's in fine health.

Kekeno seal.

Seal flippers were often mistaken for dorsal fins, the DOC says. Photo: Supplied/DOC.

DOC received a video from the member of the public who reported the orca but their team said it was identified as a seal waving its flipper, and the animal is not entangled.

Kapiti Wellington operations manager Jack Mace said seal flippers were often mistaken for dorsal fins, and it was much better to have a false alarm to test their systems than to have a real issue that they didn't know about.

She said if people did spot an animal they were concerns about, taking photos or video and providing details about where the animal was seen was a huge help.

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