Just 0.03% of our government's budget could save a species. Add your voice to the call to end set netting and trawling in the dolphin's range.
Fishing companies Moana New Zealand and Sanford Limited have made an extraordinary move to save Māui dolphins.
Support our work protecting our last 63 Māui dolphins with a symbolic adoption.
If you see a Māui dolphin, we want to know! It's important that we know their full range.
You can help save the last 63 Māui dolphins!
We need amazing nature lovers like YOU to get on board and take up a fundraising challenge to help save these tiny rare dolphins.
But they could soon disappear forever - unless we act now. Scientists estimate that just 63 individuals survive today, having found a small increase from 55 in November 2016. This increase in numbers is no excuse for inaction though, as they are still on the brink of extinction. The Māui dolphin population has plummeted from around 1500 in the 1970s, when deadly gillnets were widely introduced to our waters.
These dolphins can be saved if the New Zealand government supports affected fishers to move to dolphin-friendly methods of fishing and extends the ban on set netting and traditional trawling fishing to cover all of their known range.
This is a conservation emergency requiring immediate concerted and collaborative action!
Fishing with nets has pushed Māui dolphins to the
brink of extinction.
Entanglement in gillnets and capture by inshore trawl
fisheries is estimated to be responsible for more than
95% of all human-caused Māui dolphin deaths.
Oil and gas exploration and activity in Māui habitat
also poses a growing threat, with the government
granting an increasing number of permits inside the
dolphin's known range.
Other potential threats include boat strike,
pollution, mining, acoustic disturbance and
Māui dolphins, Cephalorhynchus hectori maui, were recognised as a distinct subspecies of Hector’s dolphins in 2002, as a result of genetic research by New Zealand scientist Dr Alan Baker.
Before then, they were called the North Island Hector’s dolphin.
The dolphins’ common name is Maui’s, after the Māori name for the North Island – te Ika a Māui. They are also known as Māui dolphins, usage WWF now favours in line with the Department of Conservation. The Māori name for Māui dolphins is popoto.
With a total population estimated at about 63 individuals over the age of one year, Māui dolphins are the world’s rarest marine dolphin. The Department of Conservation's abundance estimate released in 2016 had a 95% confidence interval of 57-75, meaning scientists are 95% sure that there is between 57 and 75 individuals excluding calves.
It is very unlikely that more than 10 calves exist at any given time with a population level this low. It also means there needs to be about 20 mature adult females (over 7 years of age) for the population to recover.
The fate of the world’s smallest and rarest marine dolphin is in our hands. If we don’t act now, we will see this amazing creature disappear forever.
This year, we relased a Business Economic Research Limited (BERL) report, showing that it will cost as little as 0.03% of the government's budget to save Māui dolphins and support fishing communities through the transition.