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Maui's Dolphin Death: Government Off The Hook This

Media release from WWF 10 June 2003

Maui's dolphin death: government off the hook this time…

A dead Maui's dolphin was reported last week by a member of the public at O'Neills Beach, North of the Manukau Harbour entrance. The autopsy results came in yesterday from Massey University showing that it died as a result of natural causes.

However, WWF insists the Government cannot delay the implementation of the ban on set netting any longer. "This death was a natural death, however, 4 of the past 7 deaths have been fishing related. In addition, two of these deaths are unknown because the bodies were too decomposed. They could quite easily have been fishing related deaths." says Jo Breese, WWF Chief Executive.

"WWF congratulated the Government when a ban was announced on set netting to protect the dolphin in January. However, that decision has not been passed through cabinet and therefore is not currently being implemented," says Jo Breese. "The government must act urgently, it has now been nearly six months since the decision was made and it still hasn't been implemented. It will still be at least another two months before the regulations are in place."

This death is still tragic news because the rare Maui's dolphin is critically endangered as there are thought to be no more than 80 to 100 left alive today.

"With such low numbers, just one death every 7 years will prevent the Maui's dolphin population from recovering", says Chris Howe, WWF Conservation Director. "This rate has been greatly exceeded in the last two years."

Maui's dolphin is the world's rarest marine dolphin and only lives along our North Island West Coast between Dargaville and New Plymouth. WWF encourages the public to continue to use the WWF Strandings and Sightings Network to report sightings in both coastal and harbour areas.

Notes:

- WWF has established the WWF Sightings and Strandings Network, with a toll free number, 0800 HECTORS (0800 432 867), to encourage people to report sightings of the Maui's dolphin.

- Maui's dolphin has been recognised as a new sub-species, and was formerly known as the North Island Hector's dolphin.

ENDS


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