World’s Smallest Dolphins Down to 55

Maui dolphins are the smallest wild dolphins in the world, with one of the tiniest populations. A new study found they are down to just about 55 adults, from 111 several years ago. However, it has been noted the real number may be less than 55, because some time has elapsed since the most recent study was conducted and the rate of decline is about three percent per year.

It was also explained there could be only 20 adult breeding females left, so protecting them all would be of the utmost importance, if there is a real desire to help them rebound. Breeding age females have just one calf each two to four years. Females grow to about 1.7 meters and the males are slightly smaller. Maui dolphins only live in the waters of west coast North Island, New Zealand.

The main threat to these critically endangered animals has been the fishing industry. They are vulnerable to fishing nets because their preferred habitat is shallow water less than 100 meters deep.

“NABU International urges the Primary Industries Minister David Carter to show the leadership that is required to save this species. He can do so by invoking provisions under Section 16 of the Fisheries Act and impose immediate emergency measures to prohibit the use of gillnets and trawling in the dolphins’ range along a 100m depth contour. Better still, he could support the Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson in declaring the full range of Maui’s dolphins a Marine Reserve.” (Source: Voxy)

There is an online petition to stop the seine net fishing which is killing them. New Zealand Conservation department contact information is here.

The government has been called upon to expand the areas of fishing net bans to protect the tiny population remaining in the wild. Why the government has taken so long to respond might be related to the influence of the fishing industry and the voracious mindset of modern business, which typically has no place for valuing life other than as something to exchange for money.

It is almost as if the presence of government conservation agencies causes the public to believe something constructive is being done to protect wild animals, so they don’t become involved, but the truth is generally it is small groups who start non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that do some of the best conservation work, without government support.

The human population is over seven billion and growing – the largest it has ever been. This fact could play out as an enormous tragedy for many of the world’s other species. Will the New Zealand dolphin species be driven into extinction by human activities?

Image Credit: JShook

Note: the dolphin shown above is a Hector’s dolphin, the parent species to the Maui’s dolphin.

Related Links
Captive Dolphin Will Go Free
Dolphins Rescued by Sun Bathers
Petition: Save Maui Dolphins From Extinction


Carrie Anne Brown

signed, thanks for sharing :)

Angela N.
Angela N.4 years ago


Irene S.
Irene S.4 years ago

Such a shame. Sign the petition!

Selective Clothears Santa

Thanks for the information today.

Sheleen Addison
Sheleen Addison4 years ago

Hope we can save them

Sondra Sweeney
Sondra Sweeney4 years ago

Wake up people! Massive weather changes. Horrendous tornadoes, draught in Texas, roller coaster weather. Spring like temperatures in March in New England. Does this all seem normal to you?
Then . . . indiscriminate fishing with football field size nets, Polar bears facing the loss of their habitat and lives. Dolphins stranding themselves in Massachusetts in record numbers. The government in Canada thinking it's okay to shoot sled dogs when they aren't wanted anymore. Birds falling out of the skies.
Wake up people! Does all this seem normal to you?
We are destroying our world as we once knew it. We buy things we don't need,. We manufacture things to use once and throw away. The oceans have miles of plastic that the fish are trying to survive in. We need to have bigger and better electronic toys. We only think about conserving gas when the price gets exhorbitant.
Wake up people! Does all of this sound normal to you?

Ruth S.
Ruth C.4 years ago

If people would stop polluting the oceans they would have a better chance to survive!!

Ruth S.
Ruth C.4 years ago

If people would stop polluting the oceans they would have a better chance at survive!!

Ruth S.
Ruth C.4 years ago

If people would stop polluting the oceans they would have a better chance at survive!!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

its so sad, i hope we can save them