Toa the orca has now spent nearly nine days separated from his pod but marine biologist Dr Ingrid Visser is hopeful he will be reunited with them soon.
"We're making the best of a very difficult situation and he's doing remarkably well," she said. "He's living up to his name of being brave and strong."
It was a frustrating day for Toa's carers yesterday, firstly with a sighting of a pod in the Tory Channel.
"We managed to get a photo ID of one of the animals – it's a male seen in frequent association with Toa's group. We just don't know if Toa's group were with them," said Visser.
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Another problem for the rescuers was pollution levels had risen in the Wellington harbour after days of heavy rain, making it unsafe for swimmers both human and cetaceous. Toa was kept in a make-shift pool rather than the holding pen in the harbour until things got better.
Toa was treated to a taste of the wild when some bull kelp was brought into the pool.
"He went from breathing quite rapidly... to just this deep sleep ... breathing really slowly and gently massaging himself with the kelp," said Visser. "Really lovely to see."