Rescue of Baby Orca (Toa) New Zealand. Orca Research Trust.

$24,648 donated
Given by 562 generous donors in 7 days

The Baby Orca, Toa, needs to return to his family urgently and needs our help. Please donate and help us get Toa back to his family.

On Sunday 11 July, a very young orca, aged between 4 – 6 months old, was found alone and stranded on jagged rocks, near Wellington, New Zealand. The little male orca was lucky to be alive, but his family had moved on, so our founder, Dr Ingrid Visser, alongside experts and volunteers are caring for the vulnerable infant. The baby has been named Toa by the local Maori Iwi, which means “brave” or “strong” and so far, he is living up to his name by doing well with his caregivers. Our desperate hope is to reunite him with his pod so our search is taking to the air, sea and land while Toa waits in a sea pen constructed specially for him in Plimmerton, Wellington.

Costs are mounting as resources are deployed to widen the search for Toa’s family, with support and expertise from around the world which attracts a wide number of practical costs. Alongside this are the operational costs of supporting our amazing volunteers who are looking after this rare and trusting creature.

It is estimated that there are fewer than 200 Orca in New Zealand coastal waters, so every life is an essential link to the biodiversity and sustainability of our nationally critical population of these extraordinary animals. While Toa is temporarily safe and well, any wild animal who is supported by humans faces risks and challenges and it’s crucial that we return him to his family so he can continue to thrive and grow into a top ocean predator like his parents.

Please help us to provide support for Toa, his carers and helpers so that we can bring him back to his family as soon as possible.

The Orca Research Trust is a registered charity (CC10041) in New Zealand. You can find out more about us at

About us

The ORCA RESEARCH TRUST protects Orca and their habitat through conservation, education, scientific research and emergency support worldwide.

Use of funds

Your donation will be used to help with the costs of the rescue efforts of Toa, the baby orca. Any remaining funds will go towards the ongoing support and work of the Orca Research Trust.

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Latest update

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Closing update  26 July 2021

Posted by: Orca Research Trust

Dear Donors

By now, you will probably have heard that little Toa passed away on Friday evening. He was gently held up by people he trusted and who cared deeply for his wellbeing, while he took his last breaths.

He deteriorated quickly and while the vets and biologists on site did all they could, it was his time to go from this world. We all wanted to see Toa swimming free with his pod and to follow his story for many years to come so it’s both difficult and poignant to write our closing update to you.

We wanted to take a moment to thank you once again for the kindness, messages and donations you provided to help us in our fight to reunite a unique and special creature with his natural habitat and family. Your generosity and encouragement helped us support Toa and keep all options open for us to always do what was best for him.

As we now wrap up the event, we will reflect on the gifts, learnings and unexpected joys that a little orca brought to us all. His plight created a worldwide community of caring individuals and made us stronger together.

With love and thanks,

from all of us who needed all of you.

Photo Credit: Dr Ingrid Visser.

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Latest donations

Indrani on 23 Jul 2021
All the best to the wonderful volunteers, Dr. Ingrid Visser and all the other parties giving their time and advice. My prayers are with you for little Toa to be reunited with his family as soon as possible. Kia Kaha!
Lissa Makareka
Lissa Makareka on 23 Jul 2021
Jennice on 23 Jul 2021
Kia kaha Little Toa
Marg and Barry
Marg and Barry on 23 Jul 2021
Great to meet up with Ingrid and Toa yesterday. Hello Monique, we remember you well too. Marg and Barry Lissette
Hayley on 23 Jul 2021

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This page was created on 16 Jul 2021 and closed on 23 Jul 2021.