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Where The Wild Things Were: Hector's Spectre

Where The Wild Things Were: Hector's Spectre
Green Media Release 8-11-07

The Green Party is trying to save Hector's Dolphin from extinction on the 100th anniversary of the death of their name-sake, Sir James Hector. There is a day-long seminar commemorating James Hector at Te Papa today.

"Just as Sir James Hector was famously nearly buried alive after being kicked by his horse in 1858 - he was unconscious and eventually revived - we must not doom Hector's Dolphins when they still have a chance of survival," Green Party Co-Leader Dr. Russel Norman says.

It is estimated that there were up to 29,000 Hector's dolphins in the 1970s, but this has fallen to around 8000 today. Scientists say they will continue to decline without further restrictions on the fishing methods that kill them.

"What better way of recalling the scientific contributions of Sir James Hector to New Zealand than to increase protection of the endangered Hector's Dolphin, and give them a chance to once again grace Wellington harbour where they have not been seen since 2004.

"Despite the attempts of the fishing industry to distort the facts, the statistics on Hector's Dolphin mortality clearly shows that nearly two-thirds of deaths, where cause of death is able to be established, are caused by set nets."

The Green Party has been putting up posters offering a reward to the public for writing to the Conservation and Fisheries Ministers and urging them to impose a set net ban. The reward is "once again seeing this dolphin swimming in waters around Wellington".

James Hector, 1834-1907, surveyor, geologist, director of the Colonial Museum in Wellington (now Te Papa), and Government science advisor, died 100 years ago this week. He 'discovered' the Hector's dolphin for the European scientific world, naming it cephalorhynchus hectori. It was known to Maori as tupoupou.

The Green Party will join other conservationists, school children and the general public in the presentation of over 25,000 e-petition signatures and 5,500 hand signatures to the Prime Minister at Parliament at 1pm next Thursday (15 November).


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