A big conflict that has recently surfaced in marine mammal conservation is the ever so desperate fight to save the Maui dolphin species… the worlds smallest dolphin, only found off the coast of New Zealand. A recent study by the Department of Conservation has shown that there are only 55 adult Maui’s left, making it one of the most critically endangered marine species in the world.
While New Zealand procrastinates on implementing conservation methods and plans to help save these rare, playful, and highly intelligent creatures, their population decreases. The Maui dolphins are facing critical threats, killing very valuable members of their dwindling population count with one human induced death occurring every year. A female was killed by a net as recent as January… But a greater and darker threat looms over the lives of these marine mammals, reducing their chances of recovery.
The mineral extraction company TTR has recently completed tests to mine the Maui dolphin seabed to mine iron ore, and they are liking what they see. They are expected to file for a mining license before August. If this happens, the Maui dolphins do not stand a chance.
On May 2nd, 2012 AVAAZ, the online petition site, delivered over 20,000 pleas for the the government of New Zealand to protect these creatures, and save the Maui dolphins and bring them back from the brink of extinction.