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Only in New Zealand: Harbourmaster stood down for helping to save orca

Posted by te2ataria on December 15, 2016

Sent by a reader

Department of Conservation unable to protect orca in NZ waters

A Coromandel harbourmaster has been stood down after helping to free an entangled orca using a Waikato Regional Council vessel.

The rescue attempt took place after the Department of Conservation (DOC) failed to send their people to free the drowning whale, said Dr Ingrid Visser of the Orca Research Trust.

“The breeding female was trapped by a cray pot line for 16 hours before locals acted,” she said.

Visser called DOC’s inaction “inexcusable”.

“The Coromandel Peninsula has had at least three orca entanglements that I know of, so the Department of Conservation should be well prepared for this.”

The harbourmaster has been taken off operational duties until further notice, said Waikato Regional Council chief executive Vaughan [butt] Payne.

New Zealand has the highest rate of orca entanglement in cray pots in the world, Visser said.

“There are about 100 female orca around New Zealand and here we have a breeding age female left to fend for herself with the help of her family – it’s deplorable.”

Gail Thwaites, one of numerous people who had attempted to contact DOC about the orca, felt disgusted.

“DOC didn’t do their job.

“I think it’s disgusting that the harbourmaster was stood down. He was acting in good faith with good intentions to save this whale. I’d love to know what the story would be if nothing was done and the whale died.”

Read more…

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