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Greens Why expose endangered dolphins to suffering

Why expose endangered dolphins to suffering, say Greens

The Green Party is appealing to Conservation Minister Chris Carter to back off plans to tag endangered Hectors dolphins with satellite tracking devices, saying the weight of evidence is clearly against the move, and that there are safer, more effective ways of monitoring dolphin populations.

"The Minister should listen to the chorus of opposition to the plan to pierce the dorsal fins of the dolphins with corrosive bolts," said Green MP Sue Kedgley, the spokesperson for Animal Welfare.

Ms Kedgley said tagging dolphins with satellite transmitters was an invasive procedure which involved capturing dolphins by their tails, dragging them onto a boat, drilling three or four holes through their dorsal fins and bolting a satellite tag in place.

"Why would we subject these exquisite creatures to such unnecessary suffering, and to such an invasive process, when there are more effective techniques such as aerial surveying and using underwater hydrophones, to monitor dolphin populations?" she asked.

"DOC seem to be the only ones in favour of the idea that poses obvious risks to the safety of the endangered Hectors dolphins.

"I am especially concerned that it would be likely that the tagged dolphins would not be recaptured and released of the tags. Letting a bolt simply rust over the course of three months or more is simply unacceptable.

"The cigarette packet-sized tags could easily get caught in lines or nets, potentially causing great damage to the dorsal fins and there is the risk of infection caused by the rusting bolts.

"The Minister must realise that the unnecessary risks far outweigh the potential gains.

"We call on Mr Carter to immediately call a halt to this experiment before we place the lives of the endangered Hectors dolphins in further peril.

"I'm sure the Minster would agree with me that New Zealanders don't want to see corroding dolphins swimming in our waters," she said.

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