Unfortunately, Orca wash up on beaches regularly, but people rarely see how. When Ben Waru, a visitor, discovered an orca stranded off the coast of New Zealand, he knew he had to rescue it.
When Waru and his family were on vacation at Papamoa Beach, they noticed several fins in the waters. After a while, they discovered it was three young orcas chasing and hunting stingrays.
As they stood there watching, one of the killer whales became entangled in the shallow water. While you should generally try to drive a beached sea creature back into the ocean since they may be very sick and require medical attention, Waru and his companions knew how this whale got into trouble.
As Waru told The Dodo, the gang made their way into the ocean and began figuring out how to aid the orca:
We weren’t sure if we could help the whale return to its siblings, who were circling further out in the ocean, but we knew we had to try […] When I initially touched the orca, it twitched. I assumed that this was the first time a human had touched it. It was incredible that it trusted us with the opportunity to assist it.
Working against the waves that continued forcing it towards the beach, Waru and his friends gradually managed to turn the killer whale around. It was then simply a matter of waiting for a large enough wave to transport the magnificent beast back out to sea.
Using its powerful tail to propel itself forward, the orca could rejoin its sister in deeper water as the rescuers looked on. As Waru subsequently recounted, it was a highly emotional time for him:
It was incredible to view an orca in the wild, but to be able to touch and save an orca is an event we will never forget. We felt like we had earned our beers that day.
Orcas, often known as killer whales, are threatened or endangered in some parts of the world because they may be found in every ocean. Donating to WWF can help fund research and safeguard these magnificent creatures.