New Zealand dolphins (Hector’s and Maui dolphins) are found only in New Zealand. Hector’s dolphin is the South Island subspecies, Maui dolphin is the North Island subspecies.
They are Endangered due to deaths in fishing nets – gill nets and trawl nets. Maui dolphin is Critically Endangered because there are fewer than 50 Maui dolphins left in the world. The last population estimate, of 57 dolphins (1 year and older) is about 4 years out of date. This is less than 5% of the original population size.
Although there are only around 50 Māui dolphins left, just 19 percent of their habitat is protected from fishing with gillnets and just five percent from trawling. Under these conditions, the dolphins’ extinction is inevitable. New Zealand has a reputation as a leader in cetacean conservation, biodiversity protection and sustainability. It is time for the government to bring protection measures for its only endemic dolphin into line with international scientific advice, or risk its credibility. We are grateful for the support for this species from across the world, including New Zealand conservation groupsOur Seas Our Future Charitable Trustand,New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trustand Maori groupNgati Te Wehi.