What makes New Zealand orcas so special
Whether you know them as killer whales or orcas, these gorgeous animals are something special – and this is even more true for those found in New Zealand.
Despite the name, they’re actually part of the dolphin family, and their distinctive black and white markings make them particularly easy to spot. Fortunately, they can be found just about anywhere around New Zealand’s coastline, as these are the the most widely distributed mammal on the planet (apart from humans) according the to Department of Conservation.
There are an estimated 150 – 200 orcas in and around New Zealand, and there’s one habit that sets them apart from orcas throughout the rest of the world: their hunting preferences.
Usually, orcas dine on a range of oceanlife, including fish, seals, and smaller dolphins. In New Zealand however, they have added stingrays to their menu.
One of the more common places to see this is in Wellington Harbour, where pods of killer whales cruise into the area to hunt down stingrays. Generally, this will only occur in the warmer months throughout spring and summer, and they seldom hang around for long.
If you’re in Wellington this summer, take a stroll around The Lagoon, Oriental Parade and Frank Kitts Park, as these are the most common places to see an orca. Note that they will usually travel in pods to hunt down their prey, so you may be lucky enough to see several at once!
Plus, if you simply love spotting wildlife, consider taking an eco tour with Habitat Tours in Auckland for the chance to spot many of New Zealand’s most precious animals – including the national icon, the kiwi!
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist