CONSERVATION

Auckland Council backs action on Maui's dolphins

Wednesday 14 March 2012, 4:43PM
By Auckland Council
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AUCKLAND

The government decision to consider future measures to protect Maui’s dolphins has been welcomed by Auckland Council.

A new study is pointing to a decline in numbers of the critically endangered species.

The Mayor and Environment and Sustainability Forum Chair, Councillor Wayne Walker, wrote to the government earlier this month regarding the continued threat to the species.

They called on the government to take every possible action to urgently reassess and remedy any outstanding risks to the dolphin.

In the letter, they advocated for a southern extension of the protection zone for the dolphins.

Councillor Walker says Auckland Council has begun to make its own commitment to the species through direct reference to Maui’s dolphin protection in the Auckland Plan. It will also be a focus of the review of coastal provisions in its formative Unitary Plan.

“With a relatively short lifespan, late sexual maturity and a slow reproductive rate of a calf born every 3 years on average, population recovery for the remaining 20 or so breeding females would be slow even without any further pressure,” says Councillor Walker. “The loss of a single female dolphin is an utter tragedy and is unacceptable.”

The Mayor says Maui’s dolphin is of great relevance to Auckland, where the heart of its population lives.

“These dolphins are particularly at risk of extinction unless every measure is taken to halt their decline by eliminating human-related risks,” says Len Brown. ”Maui’s dolphins are critically endangered and are the rarest marine dolphin on Earth.

“Guardianship of these animals is an important responsibility for Auckland Council, our iwi partners and the people of Auckland region.”