We are helping to save the Māui dolphins, found only off the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Richard Hayes Digital is proud to be playing a small part in helping protect them through WWF New Zealand, by donating every month.
They are unique to New Zealand and need our support. The world’s smallest dolphin, they are friendly and playful, with distinctive black Mickey-Mouse-ear dorsal fins.
Māui Dolphins – they could disappear forever – unless we all act now.
Scientists have estimated that there are just 63 adult dolphins surviving today. That is a dangerously low number, and they could become extinct shortly.
The population has plummeted from around 1500 in the 1970s when deadly set nets (also known as gillnets) were widely introduced to our waters. More recently, new threats like the disease toxoplasmosis have emerged – and might even now be an even bigger threat than fishing.
It is still possible to save them.
The best available science shows that all human threats need to be reduced by 50 – 75% within ten years. This means the New Zealand Government needs to take immediate action to support affected people and communities to move to methods of fishing that are safe for dolphins and address threats of toxoplasmosis.
Less than 30% of their habitat has any real protection. To ensure their survival, they need to be protected wherever they swim.
Five Māui dolphins facts
- Māui dolphins, Cephalorhynchus hectori maui, were recognised as a distinct subspecies of Hector’s dolphins in 2002. Before then, they were called the North Island Hector’s dolphin.
- The Māori name for Māui dolphins is popoto.
- Females produce just one calf every 2-4 years, making population increase a prolonged process.
- They communicate using clicks undetectable by humans.
- Māui dolphins are the smallest of the world’s 32 dolphin species. Females grow to 1.7 m long and weigh up to 50 kg. Males are slightly smaller and lighter.