It’s a race against time to untangle an orca from a crayfish line cutting into its flesh.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) first responded to reports of the entangled orca off Northland’s Tutukaka on Monday.
Dr Ingrid Visser from the Orca Research Trust said if they don’t get to the orca today – it could die.
There’s also been a reported sighting of the orca in Auckland Harbour this afternoon.
There were three orca in the pod with the large male tangled in the cray pot line and a large orange buoy.
”He’s an adult male who is with his family,” Visser earlier told the Northern Advocate from the scene.
”We can hear him calling them, He’s making distress calls and we’ve got to make sure his family is safe too.”
Visser said the line was “around his right pec fin”.
It could leave him with an infection which could cause blood poisoning and lead to a slow, painful death, she said.
”The line is also very short so it’s difficult to get a grip on it to cut it off,” she said.
A DoC spokeswoman said the department was the lead agency in whale strandings and entanglements and would direct the operation.
”We need space to do this work and request that the public do not approach the orca or DOC crews, stay at least 50m away in boats and do not enter the water,” she said.