Maui's dolphins extinct by 2030: world's marine mammal scientists urge immediate action
Under current protection levels, Maui’s dolphins will become practically extinct by 2030 as a result of fishing.
In a letter to New Zealand’s Prime Minister, the Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) urges the government to ban gillnets and trawling in Maui’s dolphin habitat immediately to avoid their extinction. With a membership of some 2,000 scientists from 60 countries, the SMM is the world's largest professional body dedicated to research on marine mammals and the ecosystems that support them. The letter highlights that fishing nets alone kill about nine percent of an estimated population of 55 individuals over one year of age, which will render Maui’s dolphins virtually extinct in less than 20 years. Read more
Over 75 leading environmental and animal protection groups and businesses, including NABU International have committed to Save the Whales: Reloaded, a new global alliance will identify and work together to protect whales and dolphins in areas where they most need help. Twenty two conservation groups and businesses from around the world have joined NABU International in a collective bid to save the Maui and Hector’s dolphins as part of the Save the Whales: Reloaded campaign. Read more
New Zealand fails international conservation obligations under the Convention of Biological Diversity
Indian school children find out about Maui's dolphins.
While local and international experts agree that fishing is the number one threat that is driving the extinction of Maui's dolphins, the New Zealand government alone maintains that "There is not enough evidence to pinpoint the exact reasons for the decline in the population."
New Zealand is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is currently meeting in Hyderabad, India. NABU International’s latest report highlights the incompatibility between New Zealand’s chronic lack of effective, science-based conservation measures for Maui’s dolphins and its obligations under the Convention's strategic objectives for 2011 to 2020. Read more ...
The End of 100% Pure New Zealand
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Set netting (commercial and recreational) and trawling have decimated the country's endemic Maui’s dolphins from around 1,000 to less than 55 adults - that’s less than 20 breeding females. Yet the NZ government continues to drag its heals, ignores the science and gives credence to outlandish and misleading claims by the fishing industry, which denies responsibility for the animals' demise.
New Zealand’s reputation as an environmentally responsible nation is crumbling. As more Maui’s dolphins die, New Zealand's iconic fern is wilting. We need strong international support if we are to stand a chance of saving this species and avoid the first man-made extinction of a marine cetacean - something even the whalers didn’t quite manage. Read more
How the Law Lets Down the ‘Down-Under Dolphin’ and How to Fix It
A New Zealand lawyer speaks out
New Zealand shames itself in front of the world
The New Zealand government has exposed its anti-conservation stance in the most spectacular way. At the recent IUCN World Conservation Congress, New Zealand was the only nation to cast a vote against a motion in favour of better protection of the last 55 or so Maui's dolphins and their endangered cousins, the Hector's dolphin. With about 6000 daily participants, the meeting is the world’s largest conservation event and brings together professionals and governments to discuss the environment. The IUCN's demands perfectly match those of our turn the red sea green campaign, confirming once again the legitimacy of what we have been asking the government to do. Read more
New Zealand tried to deflect these criticisms by pointing towards a recent extension of the protected area for Maui’s dolphins. Yet New Zealand failed to mention that these measures are merely temporary, don’t include trawl fishing and do not apply to most of the dolphins’ habitat. They therefore fall short of the IWC’s directions and will not prevent the dolphins’ extinction. Read more
Would you give up seafood from New Zealand to save Maui's and Hector's dolphins?
Hector's dolphins and their close relative the Maui’s dolphin live only in New Zealand and are both the smallest and rarest marine dolphins on earth. Entanglement in gill and trawl nets has devastated them to near extinction. Unless things change, they will disappear forever.
Since he 1970s, Hector’s dolphin populations have dropped by more than 75% from 30,000 to just over 7,000. The situation is even worse for Maui’s dolphins, their North Island subspecies. With just some 55 animals and around 20 breeding females left, Maui's dolphins are facing imminent extinction.
Saving this species is a race against time that can only be won if the threat of fishing is removed from the dolphins’ habitat. But industry bodies have forcefully opposed every effort to protect these animals and even took the government to court on several occasions in an attempt to overturn protection measures.
Both the Conservation and Primary Industries ministers said they are not implementing immediate protection measures because they fear being sued by the industry. No one wants this. But no one should be allowed to intimidate a government into allowing a species to be wiped out. There are a mere 55 Maui's dolphins left. All other avenues have been explored. This would be the very last resort to persuade the industry that this is not o.k.
2 May 2012
Tens of Thousands Petition New Zealand Government over World's Rarest Dolphin
Today representatives from NABU International and Avaaz stand united in delivering tens of thousands of signatures in support of effective protection for Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins to Parliament. The petition reached a fantastic total of 18,571, which together with Avaazes tally brings us to ten of thousands of concerned citizens who care about the dolphins' future.
Labour Deputy Leader and environment spokesperson Grant Robertson and Green Party MP and oceans spokesperson Gareth Hughes will receive the petitions. Mr Hughes will subsequently raise the matter in Parliament. Read more
Find out what the experts think. New blog pages featuring dolphin expert Dr Liz Slooten and freedive world champion William Trubridge.
Messages of Hope!
A collection of inspirational petition comments from around the world
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New Hector's & Maui's dolphin bilbliography online!
3 April 2012
Conservation Groups Call for Immediate Action to Save New Zealand’s Imperilled Dolphins
Prime Minister Key Asked to Act Urgently
Over a dozen non-governmental organizations have requested that Prime Minister John Key take immediate action to protect Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins in a letter hand-delivered to him today.
Among the NGOs imploring the government to act are organizations which are part of the Whales Need US coalition – a collection of US-based organizations that are dedicated to cetacean protection. Though typically, focused on US issues, WNUS has joined forces with NABU International, Earth Race Conservation, and other New Zealand conservation organizations seeking protection for New Zealand’s imperilled dolphins. Read more ...
27 March 2012
New Research points the way to saving Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins
New research proves the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas as an conservation tool to protect marine mammals against fisheries bycatch. Yet, Hector's dolphins, the species studied to provide this landmark result, continues to decline due to lack of protection. Read more ...
13th March 2012
Online Petition reaches 10000 signatures
Today we have reached a massive milestone. 10,000 people from around the world have raised their hand for Hector's and Maui's dolphins. A sea change will come if we continue to rally support for the world's smallest dolphin. They are no longer alone! A big thank you to each and every one for getting us this far. Let's keep going and growing for 'our' dolphins!
13th March 2012
New Estimate puts Maui's dolphin population at just 55 individuals
New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) announced today that the number of Maui's dolphins above the age of one has reached an all time low between 48-69 individuals, with a mostly likely point estimate of 55.
The report is the result of a study conducted by DOC in collaboration with the University of Auckland and Oregon State University between March in 2010 and 2011. In a novel approach, the researchers used the animals' genetic profile to calculate the new abundance estimate. Read what to make of it all or check out DOC's full report.
11th March 2012
8th March 2012
Fifteen times freediving world record holder William Trubridge calls for better protection of the world’s rarest marine dolphin.
To launch his new role as worldwide Hector’s and Maui’s dolphin ambassador Mr Trubridge recorded a unique under water video message at his winter training ground in the Bahamas. Facing the camera without breathing equipment, he urges everyone to do their bit to save this troubled species by signing a petition to the New Zealand government and by joining the Facebook group Hector’s and Maui’s Dolphin SOS. William also asks people not to buy fish caught using nets that harm the species, and to think twice about visiting New Zealand until the government acts to protect them. Read more