NZ looks to expand protection of dolphins

Books Monday 17/June/2019 16:22 PM
By: Times News Service
NZ looks to expand protection of dolphins

Wellington: The government of New Zealand government is looking to expand and strengthen the protection of Maui and Hector's dolphins.

An updated plan is being developed to combat threats to the endangers mammals, which are native to New Zealand.

Proposals for a revised Threat Management Plan to protect the Hector's and Maui dolphins include extending the boundaries of the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuar and extending the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary north to Kaikoura, south to Timaru, and offshore to 20 nautical miles.

The proposals also include the Department of Conservation developing an action plan to deal with toxoplasmosis, a disease that can affect dolphins and other marine mammals, by targeting research to answer knowledge gaps and advocating for riparian and wetland restoration.

"These precious dolphins are New Zealand taonga (treasure). We need to act now to ensure their populations increase and both species thrive," said Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.

There are an estimated 63 adult Maui dolphins left in the wild according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). There are around 7,381 adult Hector's dolphins according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).