Scientists and conservationists are urging New Zealand government and citizens to take immediate action to protect Maui’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui).
Maui’s dolphins, the world’s smallest dolphin subspecies, are critically endangered, with only an estimated 55 individuals remaining. They are only found off North Island’s west coast and recent reports state that they could become extinct by 2030.
The Society for Marine Mammalogy recently wrote a letter to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key concerning Maui’s dolphins. In the letter, they state that gillnetting and trawling still occur in areas where the dolphins are known to live, and an estimated five dolphins a year are killed by fishing gear. Entanglement in fishing gear is responsible for a 9 percent decline in population annually.
“Scientific advice often involves a degree of uncertainty,” the letter states, “but in a situation such as this one involving a critically endangered subspecies, delay to resolve uncertainty could have dire, irrevocable results.”
To learn more, watch the following video:
It’s a little old (2007) but the information is still good. Unfortunately, the only thing that has really changed is the number of individual dolphins left…
- Kaipara Maui’s dolphin ‘died of old age’ (radionz.co.nz)
- The Rare Maui’s Dolphins Need Your Tweets (championsforcetaceans.com)
- Conservation groups: Govt’s dolphin proposal ‘inadequate’ (nzherald.co.nz)
- Additional protection proposed for Maui’s dolphin (national.org.nz)
- Protect the World’s Smallest Marine Dolphins from Extinction (forcechange.com)