Apr 11, 2021

TangataWhenua.com

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Save #last55 maui dolphins

2 min read

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Fifty-five is not a big number. But it could mean a world of difference to our very own dolphin species here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Anestimated55 Maui Dolphin remain in the world
  • Maui Dolphin are a subspecies dolphin only found in New Zealand
  • Entanglement in fishin gear and diseases has seen the decline of the species
  • #last55 #mauidolphin #tauranga #savedolphin #aotearoa
  • Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridge, made a decision to allow oil exploration in a marine sanctuary home to the rare Mauis dolphin

Mauis dolphin is the worlds rarest and smallest known subspecies of dolphin. Found only in New Zealand,they typically range close to the coast in small pods although they can also be found around harbour mouths and further offshore. But their numbers have been decreasing due to entanglement in fishing gear and disease, with approximately 4 to 5 Mauis killed each year. Which doesnt seem like too many, right?

In the 1970s, the dolphin population was reportedly around 1,800 individuals. But the species has rapidly declined since net-setting and trawling were introducedin the 1970s. A 2012 research study estimated thatonly 55 Mauis dolphins now remain. Suddenly that 4 to 5 death rate seems a lot bigger. So just since that study was conducted, we are probably already approaching a population size of around 40 animals. Extinction isnt just a threat its a very real likelihood.

If we are losing 10% of the population each year, you dont have to be a mathematical genius to know that things arent looking good for the Mauis. Especially given their slow reproduction rate females reach maturity at approximately 8 years of age, and only have one calf every 2 4 years.

In a recent report, the IWC estimated that Mauis will decline to just 10 adult breeding females in six years and become functionally extinct in less than 20 years unless their full range is protected from gillnetting and trawling.

A protest organised by Labour’s Rotorua Candidate Tamati Coffey,was held today in Tauranga to pressure Simon Bridge, after his decision to allow oil exploration in a marine sanctuary home to the rare Maui’s dolphin.A petition to “Sack Simon” climbed to more than 23,000 people following the revelation Mr Bridges offered the 3000km sq of the West Coast Marine Mammal Sanctuary for petroleum exploration.

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Protesters in Tauranga IMAGE: File

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Labour’s Rotorua CandidateTamati Coffey, and Internet Mana Party’s East Coast Candidate Patrick Salmon

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Mana’s Hone Harawira speaks out against Simone Bridges decision – IMAGE: Joe Trinder

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