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Freediver calls for better protection of NZ dolphins

March 8, 2012

Press Release:

Fifteen times freediving world record holder William Trubridge calls for better protection of the world’s rarest marine dolphin

New Zealand – William Trubridge is a New Zealander and feels a special connection with Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins, which live nowhere else.

“Hector's Dolphins are the world's smallest and most endangered dolphin”, he says. One of its two subspecies, the Maui's Dolphin, has a population of less than 80.”

William joined forces with German conservation group, NABU International – Foundation for Nature in their campaign to stop the dolphins’ extinction.

“Hector’s and Maui’s dolphin numbers have been dwindling towards extinction for more than 30 years, mostly due to the deadly gill nets and trawlers that operate in their territory. Instead of defending this beautiful species, the current government has caved in to the fishing industry and further reduced their protection.”

To launch his new role as worldwide Hector’s and Maui’s dolphin ambassador Mr Trubridge recorded a unique under water video message at his winter training ground in the Bahamas. Facing the camera without breathing equipment, he urges everyone to do their bit to save this troubled species by signing a petition to the New Zealand government and by joining the facebook group Hector’s and Maui’s Dolphin SOS. William also asks people not to buy fish caught using nets that harm the species, and to think twice about visiting New Zealand until the government acts to protect them.

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“We don't have long to fix this. Saving this species is a race against time. Commercial and recreational gill nets and trawling must be banned in the dolphins' range for any water shallower than 100m. Otherwise Maui's and Hector's Dolphins will be the first species of marine dolphin to become extinct due to human causes. We can't afford to lose a single one”.

William was the first human to reach a depth of 100 m without the use of fins, rope, weight, or any other form of assistance. It was the 15th time that he broke a world record. Another dive to 121 m earned him the world record in free immersion, or line-assisted freediving. Even the dolphins can’t follow him that deep. William’s other breathtaking accolades include his nomination as New Zealand athlete of the year in 2011, winner of 2010 and 2011 World Absolute Freediver, an annual prize for freedivers with the highest combined score across six disciplines, and being the highest ranked athlete at Team's World Champs in 2010.

“NABU International is delighted about William’s support”, says NABU International’s Head of Endangered Species Conservation, Dr Barbara Maas. „We hope that the backing of this worldclass athlete, with his genuine affinity for the sea and the dolphins, will inspire people around the world to call for their protection”.


Link to the video: http://www.hectorsdolphins.com

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