A team from Nelson’s Cawthron Institute have discovered there are potentially twice then number of Hector’s dolphins in New Zealand waters than previously realised.
The findings of a three-year marine aerial survey to update the dolphin’s population and distribution show there are between 12,000 and 18,500 dolphins, almost double the last estimation of 7000.
Hector’s dolphins are one of the world’s rarest dolphins and at only 1.4 metres long and 50 kilograms they’re also one of the smallest. The species is listed as endangered. …
Hector’s dolphins were previously thought to be a mainly inshore species, however Clement’s team found up to half the population in unprotected waters beyond four nautical miles offshore.
This makes it even more important for people to understand the difference between Hector and Maui dolphins. Maui are critically endangered and number under 100. Their Hector cousins are endangered. It is possible this new population estimate could lead to their classification changing to only vulnerable.