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North Island Hector’s dolphin doomed to extinction

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE
13 AUGUST 2001

North Island Hector’s dolphin doomed to extinction

Forest and Bird today called on the Government to take urgent action to prevent the extinction of the North Island Hector’s dolphin.

“There are only 100 dolphins left – this species is critically endangered,” said Eric Pyle, Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager. “Set netting and trawling pose a real threat to these dolphins. The Government must act urgently to ban set netting and limit trawling from North Taranaki to Hokianga to save these critically endangered dolphins from extinction”.

Scientists predict that even if one dolphin is accidentally killed every five years, the population will be driven to extinction. “Three North Island Hector’s have been washed up dead this year and set netting is implicated in at least one of these deaths. At this rate the population is destined to become extinct,” said Mr Pyle.

The Ministry of Fisheries appears to blame the dolphins, saying that part of the reason for the dolphins’ decline is that they are “introverted and fussy in the company they keep”. “Rather than blaming the dolphins, the Ministry needs to ban set netting and better control trawling on the North West Coast,” said Mr Pyle.

“The Government can act quickly if it wants – look at the speed at which the Whitianga Waterways issue was sorted out,” says Mr Pyle. “The Government should show similar haste in saving the North Island Hector’s dolphin from extinction.”

Ends


Contact: Eric Pyle, Conservation Manager – phone 04 385 7374 work; 025 227 8420; email e.pyle@wn.forest-bird.org.nz; Barry Weeber, Senior Researcher, (04)385-7374 or (025)622-7369, email b.weeber@wn.forest-bird.org.nz;

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