Bottlenose dolphins and a ginger seal make rare ‘once in a lifetime’ Akaroa visit
Akaroa was treated to a rare ‘once in a lifetime’ sight of a pod of Bottlenose dolphins close to the town’s main wharf yesterday, well within sight of the town’s locals and visitors sitting in cafes on the waterfront.
“It’s a fantastic sighting,” Black Cat Cruises Sales & Marketing Manager Natasha Lombart said. “We’ve never had them (Bottlenose dolphins) visit the main wharf before, or seen so many around the harbour; it just doesn’t happen” The rarity of the sightings made it onto TV One Breakfast news. Local Christchurch reporter Holly Carran helped to share the story with thousands of viewers…..
The area is well known for the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin the Hector’s dolphin, but sighting of large numbers of Bottlenose dolphins is rare for the area.
“Our job is to show people the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin every day, something uniquely special in itself, however this season we have had such a treat with rare wildlife as well as Orca, Hector calves and even a ginger seal pup that was seen happily playing with its sleek fur seal playmates last week.”
Lombart said it had really been a ‘special summer’ with so many rare and unique sightings. “In a very rare sight, a female Orca and her two calves were seen playing with a pod of Hector’s dolphins late last year, last week was the first time anyone has ever seen a ginger seal and there’s been a few dolphin calves in the harbour which always great news for the endangered species.”
The pod of between 20 and 30 Bottlenose dolphins included several calves and have been sighted at various spots in the harbour this week.
“Customers and staff on our Akaroa Harbour Cruise were very excited,” Lombart said. “They said you could even hear their sounds. It really is a very rare opportunity as we never get Bottlenose dolphins inside the harbour and they’ve certainly never been right up against the wharf in town.”
She said it literally was ‘a once in a life time opportunity’ as Black Cat staff thought it had never happened before.
Lombart said the sightings were timely as New Zealand is celebrating Seaweek, New Zealand’s national celebration of our marine environment.
“The timing couldn’t be better,” she said. “It’s almost as if they (The Bottlenose dolphins) know its Seaweek.”
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