Sea Shepherd Calls For Immediate Protection of New Zealand’s Critically Endangered Maui and Hector's Dolphins

Tuesday, 10 Apr, 2012

The Maui dolphin and Hector’s dolphin are listed as critically endangered. The Maui dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) is a subspecies of the Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) and both are endemic to New Zealand. Recent research has identified the population of Maui dolphins to be within the range of 55 to 79, with the next category for these dolphins being extinction. 

Dead Hector's tangled in gill-net. Photo: DOC NZ

The Threat Management Plan, published by the Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Conservation, after several years of consultation with the fishing industry and other interested parties, has conclusively identified the use of nylon filament gill nets introduced in the 1970’s as the number one killer of Maui and Hector’s dolphins. Scientific research conducted over three decades by Dr. Liz Slooten and Dr. Steve Dawson of Otago University shows that there are not enough protected areas in New Zealand coastal waters to halt their rapid decline. In the last forty years, Maui dolphin populations have plummeted from 1000 to the current estimate of 55. Hector’s dolphin populations have dropped from 30,000 to 7,000 at current estimates.

Maui dolphin will be the first marine cetacean in the world to become extinct directly due to human impact-unless you help! Please join a global initiative supported by Dr. Barbara Maas of NABU International to demand that the New Zealand government bans gill nets in the habitat of Maui and Hector’s dolphins. The New Zealand government is currently accepting public submissions until April 11th. Support this ban by signing submission below and the petition to ban gill nets in the coastal waters of New Zealand.

There will still be more protection needed from other threats in the coastal habitat of Maui dolphin (trawling, pollution, marine mining – we’ll work on these too), but most importantly let the New Zealand government know that you are not going to let the Maui dolphin become extinct.

Freediving World Champion Will Trubridge champions world’s rarest dolphin.

Watch the video and check out William's blog.


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