The Department of Conservation (DoC) spent more than $129,500 trying to save the life of an orca calf which died after 13 days of 24/7 care.
In July, the plight of Toa the baby orca captured the hearts of New Zealanders. The un-weaned calf was stranded on Wellington's Plimmerton Beach on July 11.
He was transported to a holding pen in the harbour where volunteers stayed in the water with him 24/7 until he died on July 23.
Throughout this time Toa received specialist vet care as helicopters flew up and down New Zealand searching for his family – and costs crept up.
DoC revealed it cost $67,720 in operating costs to care for the orca for 13 days – this is in addition to the personnel costs of $62,060.
All up, keeping the calf alive for less than two weeks cost a total of $129,780.
The costs reveal $17,446 was spent on travel costs, flights and accommodation for 20 specialist staff to fly in and care for Toa. Site security cost a further $15,871 and meals for staff cost $13,941.
The costs spilled further afield too with helicopter searches for the calf's family costing $2,475.
None of these flights were successful and Toa's family were never found.
Forecasting costs were close to $2000 and simply moving Toa from the location he was found in to the holding pen cost $3,863.
Massey University Professor Karen Stockin told the Herald in July the level of intervention was unprecedented.
"In New Zealand, scientists, the public and DoC do get involved with stranded animals such as Pilot whales, but the level of intervention is at a very different scale than what we've just seen with Toa."