Creature Feature – Māui Dolphin
Today is National Dolphin Day!
In honour of this years’ National Dolphin Day, this week on Creature Feature Friday we take a detailed look at the most endangered species of dolphin, the Māui Dolphin. A subspecies of the Hector’s Dolphin, this species is New Zealand’s only endemic cetacean and it is estimated only 50 individuals remain in the wild.
Scientific Name: Cephalorhyncus hectori maui
© Andrea Maecker
Māui Dolphin Fact File
Size: Similar in size to the Hector’s Dolphin, individuals can grow up to 1.7m long and weigh up to 50kg
Distribution: This species can only be found off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand
Diet: Their diet is poorly understood though is known to include morid cod and Peltorhamphus flatfish
Behaviour: Like many other species, these dolphins have been observed playing, chasing each other, blowing bubbles, and play fighting
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered. Like many marine creatures, they face serious pressures from human activities. The main threat is entanglement in gillnets. In addition, bycatch in trawl nets and disease from pollution has also been reported. It is estimated only around 50 individuals of reproductive age remain in the wild