Moko continues to make waves

Moko the dolphin.
Moko the dolphin.
Moko the friendly bottlenose dolphin's presence in Whakatane continues to create a waves with his minders angry they have been told their services are no longer needed.

With the temperature cooling and fewer people in the water, the Department of Conservation says there is no need to watch Moko every day.

However, Moko minder Kirsty Carrington says she is worried something will happen to Moko.

"DOC doesn't have a clue, they are saying Moko is fine but just the other day we saw people jumping on him," she said.

"Interaction with people is great for Moko but the interaction with some is a danger for him -- people are jumping on him and grabbing his fin and without us, no one is there to stop them."

The five volunteer minders have done a lot of work protecting people "from their own stupidity" as well, Ms Carrington said.

"We're never going to stop going out there and talking to people about the safest way to interact with Moko but now we won't have the authority and backing from DOC.

"Idiots will be able to ignore is like DOC have said Moko is free game."

East Coast DOC marine ranger Jamie Quirk said Moko was less at risk of being hurt in the winter.

"Although minders are well appreciated over the summer season they are no longer needed in winter," said Mr Quirk, who has studied the dolphin since he turned up in Whakatane from Mahia, south of Gisborne.

"With the river being in flood, there are not as many people getting into the water with him. While we don't need the minders any more, the messages are exactly the same as they have always been.

"Moko is a wild animal and he should be treated with the utmost respect."


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