An orca found stranded in Bay of Plenty waters has died.
The calf - named Bob, by locals - died in the early hours of this morning, despite a big effort to save it after it was found in Tauranga Harbour.
Orca rehabilitation experts had been brought in to try to save the mammal, which had earlier been transferred to a pool where it received medical treatment.
Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry this morning expressed her sympathies to the many people who had worked exhaustively to try to save the whale.
"It was an effort made in the best spirit of co-operation and conservation of the natural world.''
It is thought the whale stranded after becoming separated from its pod about mid-July.
Barry said had the team been successful, the rescue and release of an orca that young would have been a world first.
"The chances of success were always slim - but those who gave their time and effort to the calf should be proud of their efforts.''
Barry said an appropriate farewell was now being organised.
The news comes after the Orca Tactical Response Group said last night the calf was making an encouraging progress after being given several feeds and electrolytes to rehydrate it.