Several pods of orca have surprised a Canterbury tour group.
The group of black and white killer whales were spotted at the entrance of Akaroa Harbour about 2pm on Sunday.
Ecoseaker Dolphin Swimming and Harbour Adventure Cruises owner Steve Hamilton said the large group of orca were spotted by a tour group cruising near the harbour entrance.
“There were several pods making up around 15 to 18 as a larger family pod. It was a real bonus for us and our guests,” he said.
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Orca can be identified by their distinctive black and white markings and very tall, prominent dorsal fins.
They can grow up to 9 metres in length, with male dorsal fins reaching higher than 1m.
Orca flippers are large and paddle-shaped and their overall body is robust. They are acrobatic and are commonly seen breaching the surface of the water and flipper-slapping.
Males are longer and bulkier than females, while females have smaller, more curved dorsal fins, and smaller flippers.
According to the Department of Conservation, New Zealand is home to about 200 orca, which travel long distances throughout the country’s coastal waters
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