The plight of New Zealand's endangered Maui's dolphins has
again been highlighted at an international level, this time
by global conservation agency WWF.
WWF joins University of Otago dolphin specialist Associate
Prof Liz Slooten in presenting papers on concerns about the
dolphins' future to the international Whaling Commission
Scientific Committee that is meeting in Slovenia.
The WWF paper presented to the commission outlined its
beliefs the New Zealand Government was putting Maui's
dolphins at risk of extinction by ignoring scientific
evidence of their range and what protection was needed to
''There is no protection for Maui's dolphins in a number of
areas where, by the Government's own standard, there have
been several reliable sightings,'' WWF marine advocate Milena
The Government needed to extend protection for Maui's
dolphins across their habitat.
''Estimates indicate there are only about 55 Maui's left.
Their survival is on the line. We need to do everything we
can to protect them. They are right on the edge and the world
Prof Slooten's paper showed the protection measures announced
last year would at best reduce the estimated Maui's dolphin
bycatch from five to three dolphins a year but would not be
enough to avoid continued population decline, Ms Palka said.
''The science shows that we can only afford one human-induced
Maui's death every 10 to 23 years. Both these papers show
that the Government's limited protection measures will only
delay a Maui's extinction, not stop it,'' she said.