A baby orca found stuck in New Zealand died after a great deal of unsuccessful efforts to reunite with her mother.
The murderous whale (named Toa) was washed ashore near the capital Wellington 10 days ago, prompting a desperate search to find his family in the nearby waters.
An orphan, believed to be two to six months old and about 2.5 meters (8 feet) long, could not survive alone in the ocean.
His fate took control of the country and hundreds of people volunteered to help with the national search.
Tor (Maori for “warrior”) was separated from the pod and discovered by two teenagers in Plimmerton’s Rockpool, north of Wellington.
Conservationists put him in a makeshift pool, where he was fed every four hours through a special teat.
A fleet of aircraft and land observers searched hundreds of miles of the coastline in search of Toa’s pods, hoping to find Toa’s mother.
However, Whale Rescue, an organization that helped Tor, said on Friday his condition suddenly deteriorated. The vet hurried to help but couldn’t save him.
“We have to report that Toa died shortly before,” the organization said. “As you can imagine, we are devastated.”
The team wanted Tor to be reunited with his mother or, if that failed, to be adopted by another pod.
Ian Angus, Department of Conservation Marine Species Manager, said the caretakers of Toa “thrown everything in an attempt to save him.”
“We were always aware that the longer he was held away from his mother, the more likely it was that his health would deteriorate,” Angus said.
“Toa quickly passed by, surrounded by love, and the last days were as comfortable as possible.”