World’s smallest dolphins may go extinct soon

Just 50 Maui's dolphins remain thanks to overfishing

By Rajit Sengupta
Published: Tuesday 26 May 2015


The world’s smallest dolphin species will go extinct in the next 15 years, warns a new research, if proper conservation efforts are not carried out. Just 50 Maui's dolphins, a subspecies of Hector's dolphins that is endemic to New Zealand, remain in the world today, according to a study presented at a meeting of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), in San Diego, US.

“These new figures are a loud wakeup call: New Zealand has to abandons its current stance, which places the interests of the fishing industry above biodiversity conservation, and finally protect the dolphins’ habitat from harmful fishing nets, seismic airgun blasts and oil and gas extraction,” said Barbara Maas, who headed the team of researchers at the NABU International Nature Conservation Foundation that carried out the study.

Maas said that out of the 50 just 10 to 12 are adult female. She warned that unless the level of fisheries protection was increased significantly, the critically-endangered dolphins could become extinct in just 15 years. The report also suggests that the population had dropped 97 per cent because of fishing since the 1970s.


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