Kiwi marine conservationists and heaps of local volunteers in Plimmerton, north of Wellington, dared to dream of the scenario where a baby orca was reunited with his pod or adopted by another, but it wasn’t to be. Toa, the 2-6 month-old orca, was found stranded on rocks on 11 July and was cared for around the clock. Meanwhile, hundreds of kilometres of coastline and ocean were scoured by a fleet of aircraft and boats looking for his pod. But over the last few days, his condition deteriorated, and he died on Saturday. “Toa passed quickly, surrounded by love, with his last days made as comfortable as possible,” said Ian Angus from the Department of Conservation. One local said “Tangaroa had his way with him in the end,” referring to the god of the sea in Māori culture.
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