Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Help DOC record sightings of endangered dolphins

23 October 2008

Help DOC record sightings of critically endangered dolphins

DOC is calling on the public to help to collect crucial information by reporting sightings of critically endangered Maui’s dolphins. Thought to be the rarest oceanic dolphin in the world, with just an estimated 111 dolphins remaining, continuing to increase our understanding of this unique species is extremely important.

A sub-species of the Hector’s dolphin, the Maui’s dolphin is found only off the west coast of the North Island.

Maui’s dolphins are generally found close to shore during summer. The dolphins have distinctive grey, white and black markings and a short snout. Maui’s dolphins, and their close relative the Hector’s dolphin, are the only New Zealand dolphins with a rounded black dorsal fin that looks a bit like a ‘Mickey Mouse’ ear.

DOC’s marine conservation manager Simon Banks says, “You are most likely to see Maui’s dolphins closer to shore over the next few months. This is a rare opportunity for members of the public travelling along the west coast of the North Island to see these unique and endangered dolphins, and to help DOC with the collection of important sightings information.”

Sightings are used to learn more about the distribution of the dolphins and will help DOC to make sure they are adequately protected across their range. DOC asks the public to report sightings of the dolphins to its 0800 DOCHOT line (0800 36 24 68).

“Past observations have increased our knowledge of this rare and endangered marine mammal, but to ensure a secure future for these dolphins we need to continue to obtain as many high quality sightings as possible,” said Mr Banks.

Protection for the dolphins has increased with four new marine mammal sanctuaries, and changes to the existing Banks Peninsula sanctuary, coming into effect today. The sanctuaries are in key dolphin habitats: Clifford and Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, Porpoise Bay on the Catlins Coast, Te Waewae Bay on the south coast, and along the west coast of the North Island.

The sanctuaries are an ideal place for dolphin spotting - Hector’s dolphins in the South Island, and if you are very lucky you might be fortunate enough to see a Maui’s dolphin in the west coast North Island sanctuary.

What to look for
Maui’s dolphins have distinctive grey, white and black markings and a short snout. They are the only New Zealand dolphins with a rounded black dorsal fin. Dolphins are generally found close to shore travelling alone, or in groups or pods of several dolphins. They’re often seen in water less than 20 metres deep, but may also range further offshore. Females can be up to 1.7 meters long and weigh between 40-60 kilograms. Males are slightly smaller and lighter than females.

What to do if you see a Maui’s dolphin
Report sightings of Maui’s dolphins to DOC, preferably as soon as possible, by calling the 0800 DOCHOT line (0800 36 24 68). DOC needs to know the date, time and location of the sighting, the number of dolphins, whether there were any calves, and any other observations regarding their behaviour. If possible, take a photograph (from a camera or mobile phone) of the dolphins with a land feature in the background and a record of the GPS position of the sighting.

Dolphins should be approached slowly, quietly and cautiously, and preferably from behind or parallel to them. Boaties are requested not to obstruct their path or cut through a group. Making sudden noises may startle the animals and should be avoided. Aircraft should keep a 150m distance from dolphins and not fly directly over them.

Find out more about Hector’s and Maui’s dolphins on the DOC website:


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Auckland Transport: Successful Bridge Repair Opens Two Additional Lanes To Traffic

The opening of two additional lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge this morning will help relieve some motorway congestion for motorists heading home to the North Shore tonight. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>


Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>


MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>


University Of Auckland: Whale-Watching By Satellite – Follow Their Travels Online

Scientists have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six New Zealand southern right whales, or tohorā, and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. Part of a major research project involving the University of Auckland ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Kiwibank Admits System Failures And Agrees To Pay Customers $5.2 Million

Kiwibank has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commerce Commission after reporting that it failed to have in place robust home loan variation disclosure policies, procedures and systems. In a settlement dated 27 August 2020, Kiwibank admitted that ... More>>

Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>


NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>


Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>