For the last two years I've been involved in a campaign to protect New Zealand's endemic dolphins, the Hector's and Maui's Dolphins.
Recently the situation with the latter species has become drastic, with only 55 individuals left, and this, coupled with the governments continued stonewalling and stalling of the issue has meant that the campaign has become more urgent. If those who are able to change the legislation to protect the dolphins don't have the moral common sense to do so then we must talk in their language, and show that the loss of a species (and what would be the first human-induced extinction of a marine dolphin) would be the bane of New Zealand's tourism industry and the international brand image it is founded on ("100% Pure", "Clean, Green NZ" etc).
As a freediver I feel a close affinity to dolphins. It's clear from my own experiences, and from the way they are known to protect swimmers from sharks or interact with snorkelers and surfers, that these mammals reciprocate this kinship.
Intrinsically it's impossible to argue that any one species is more valuable than another, and it's true that we anthropomorphize dolphins a lot and are fond of them in part for their unfailing smile and playful mirth. However they are also the most intelligent order of beings after man, and offer us not just another statistic of biodiversity, but also a chance to learn about ourselves through the ineluctable inspiration that is granted just by being in the presence of creatures in such perfect harmony with their world.
To the maori they are known as tutumairekurai, which means 'special ocean dweller.'
Should we lose such a rare example of the life's wonders for ever it would be a black mark on our name as stewards of this planet.
only a fraction of the dolphins' home (red) is protected (green)
The first and only dolphin to become extinct so far due to human influence was a fresh water dolphin: the Yangtze River Dolphin. While they inhabited a tiny stretch of water in the most populated country of the planet (still no excuse for their extinction of course), the same can not be said for New Zealand's Dolphins.
It is only through the rampant greed and malpractice of a government-pampered fishing industry that their species have been strangled to close to extinction. The imperative and only course of action is incontestable: trawling and gill-netting must be made illegal across the dolphins' entire territory. Benefit of doubt must be given to a crippled species, not to a belligerent fishing industry.
I will not be content until this course of action has been implemented. It will give me further inspiration to dive deeper, to break more records, and with each press interview that follows use the publicity to further expose the moral vacuity of a government that promotes its country as "100% pure" while acting as an accomplice in the speciocide of Hector's and Maui's Dolphins.
William Trubridge is a worldclass athlete with true depth. He has 15 freedive world records to his name and is not only the current freedive world champion but our dedicated Hector's and Maui's Dolphins Ambassador.
Watch William's amazing underwater dolphin appeal
Watch William Breathe
Check out 9-time Emmy Award-winning ESPN producer Martin Khodabakhshian's fascinating freedive documentary 'Breathe'. The film follows William as he attempts to break his own world record by diving completely unaided to a depth of 300ft.
Find out more about Will at Vertcalblue
Hector's and Maui's Dolphin SOS