Kaikoura Earthquake Update – Impact on Wildlife

Update: January 3, 2017 – Status of Whale Watching Tour Operators

Kaikoura Whale Watch has resumed whale watching tours off the Kaikoura coast!

There have been changes to the procedure of loading passengers on to the vessel, which takes place at Kaikoura Marina.

For now, tour times vary from the regular times and are based around high tide. Contact Kaikoura Whale Watch if you have specific questions about making a booking.

Wings Over Whales have been conducting whale watch and scenic flights since early December.

Dolphin Encounter are still not running scheduled dolphin and albatross tours, but are operating daily tours by arrangement and depending on tides and weather. Their cafe and customer service remains open so visitors can contact the company with specific questions.


November 16, 2016
We send our condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives during the major earthquake Kaikoura experienced on November 13, 2016, and best wishes to the residents and local business operators of Kaikoura during this difficult time.

News outlets and social media are providing much needed regular updates and information regarding the impact of the earthquake upon residents, tourists and businesses in Kaikoura.

Here at KaikouraWhaleWatching.com, we also want to focus on the sometimes forgotten victims: the wildlife. Sadly there has, not unexpectedly considering the scale of the damage, been some very negative impacts upon some important wildlife sites near Kaikoura.

News is starting to come in about Ohau Point, where the entire famous Fur Seal breeding ground has been destroyed, as well as the waterfall which was famous for its seals. DOC officials state that it is highly likely some seals, including pups and pregnant females, perished under the landslides. Many seals were known to be out at sea and will return to a landscape that is completely unfamiliar to them.

As officials are able to investigate more of the surrounding environment, they will be able to assess the impacts upon not only the seals, but other concerns being held for seabirds and in particular the Hutton’s shearwater colony of the Kaikoura Ranges. The effect of the earthquake on Blue Penguins is also of concern.

The Department of Conservation has released a short note about the impact of the earthquake on wildlife and they note that it will likely take several weeks until all of the damage and impact on Kaikoura’s wildlife can be properly assessed.

DOC is also instructing everyone to stay away from all of their tracks, huts and conservation areas in the region. Aftershocks are still ongoing.

All whale watching activities in Kaikoura are suspended for the forseeable future, while earthquake recovery and geological investigations continue.

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