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Footage of orca pod in Samoa could be the first of its kind

Orca off the coast of Savai'i, Samoa.
Source: Stuff New Zealand

Off Shore, SAVAI'I ISLAND — Orca have been filmed off Samoa in what might be the first sighting ever caught on tape in that country.

The four orca - also known as killer whales - were seen by a group of friends from Gore and Invercargill during a holiday and, while the women were delighted with the sight, they didn't realise its significance until later.

Raewyn Rautahi said the women were on a chartered fishing trip about  5 kilometres off the coast off Safotu on Savai'i Island when the whales appeared.

"The Samoan Government said they believe there was a sighting 15 years ago but this is the first time there's proof they're in the water."

"We could see these dots ahead of us and the skipper said 'it looks like orca' and then they started heading towards the boat, went under and followed us. They were so close it felt like we could reach out and touch them.

"The skipper said he had never seen orca and he'd been working out there for 25 years. We must have brought him some luck, us women."

The orca - two large and two small - seemed interested in the boat and Ruatahi said the skipper ultimately "took off" from the pod to keep the mammals safe.

Unlike humpbacks, orca didn't migrate and there were plenty of records of the mammals in tropical locations year-round.

"It is exciting to hear about these types of encounters and they are of immense value to researchers such as myself ... this is a perfect example of citizen science working to expand our knowledge of these apex predators."

Read more at Stuff NZ