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Stop The Extintion Of The Maui Dolphin-The Worlds Smallest and Rarest Dolphin

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Having distinctive grey, white, and black markings and a short snout, they are most easily recognized by their round dorsal fins. Maui's dolphins are generally found close to shore in groups or pods of several dolphins. They have solidly built bodies with gently sloping snouts and a unique rounded dorsal fins. (Maui's and Hector's are the only dolphins with well-rounded black dorsal fins.) Females grow to 1.7 m long and weigh up to 50 kg. Males are slightly smaller and lighter. The dolphins are known to live up to 20 years.

Maui's dolphin or popoto (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) is the world's rarest and smallest known subspecies of dolphin. They are a subspecies of the Hector's dolphin. Maui's dolphins are only found off the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. Hector's and Maui's are New Zealand's only endemic cetaceans.Maui's dolphins are generally found close to shore in groups or pods of several dolphins. They are generally seen in water shallower than 20 m, but may also range further offshore.

The dolphin is threatened by set-netting and trawling. The International Whaling Commissionsupports more fishing restrictions, but the New Zealand government has resisted the demands and questioned the reliability of the evidence presented to the IWC that Maui's dolphins inhabit the areas they are said to inhabit. In June 2014, the government decided to open up 3000 km2 of the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary - the main habitat of the Maui's dolphin - for oil drilling. This amounts to one-quarter of the total sanctuary area. In May 2015, estimates suggested that the population had declined to 43-47 individuals, of which only 10 were mature females.

Since the first major restrictions on commercial fishing to protect Maui's dolphins were imposed in 2003, 12 mortalities have been listed along the west coast of the North Island. Of these, three have been confirmed as Hector's dolphins and the deaths of all but one were from natural causes. The single death attributed to fishing occurred in January 2012.The most recent dolphin death reported was from old age, with no indications of fishing injury, and she was found on a beach near Dargaville on 13 September 2013. An analysis of microsatellite DNA shows the dolphin was a Maui's.

This DOC Incident Database information is contrary to a NABU paper submitted to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission in June 2013, which referred back to the database that the number of fatal Maui's entanglements in fishing nets has increased, from an average of one per year, to 1.33 per year, since 2008.

In 2012, the majority of a government-appointed panel of experts estimated that set-netting and trawling resulted in an average of five Maui's dolphin deaths each year.

In 2006, Brucella was found in a dead Maui's dolphin and DOC says this bacterial infection could have serious ramifications for the small Maui's population. Brucellosis is a disease of terrestrial mammals that can cause late pregnancy abortion, and has been seen in a range of cetacean species elsewhere, though not so far in Hector's or Maui's dolphins.

In 2012, post mortem studies on Hector's and Maui's showed that most were infected with the protozoa Toxoplasma. Two of the three Maui's dolphins were killed by toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is known to reduce fertility in livestock, with cats playing a key role in its transmission. It is not known how toxoplasmosis spread to Maui's and Hector's dolphins, nor is any funding available for research into this. though Auckland City Council has decided to assist Massey University research by providing cat fecal samples.

Fishing restrictions
In 2003, a ban on using commercial set nets was added to an existing ban on recreational set netting from Maunganui Bluff (north of Auckland) to Pariokariwa Point (north Taranaki), out to four nautical miles from shore. In 2008, the restriction on set netting was extended out to seven nautical miles from shore along the same coastal area. In 2008, the existing ban on trawling one nautical mile from this coast was extended to two nautical miles and extended to four nautical miles between Manukau Harbour and Port Waikato.

Set netting is prohibited inside the entrances of the Kaipara, Manukau, and Raglan Harbours and Port Waikato. Current presence of Maui's dolphins further within these harbours is disputed, though they do visit the harbour mouths. After what MPI believed at the time in January 2012 was the capture of a Maui's dolphin off Taranaki (though now says it was 'about as likely as not' to have been a Hector's) in June 2012, the New Zealand government announced an interim set net ban extension south around the Taranaki coast toHawera and out to two nautical miles from shore, and set netting only with government observers on board between two and seven nautical miles from land.

In November 2013, the Minister of Conservation Nick Smith, in finalising the Maui's dolphin Threat Management Plan, confirmed an increase of the Taranaki set net ban of two nautical miles, further out to seven nautical miles between Pariokariwa Point and Waiwhakaiho River near New Plymouth. He said this was due to five public sightings of Hector type dolphins off Waitara since 2006. Smith also announced codes of practice for seismic surveys would be implemented, regulations for inshore boat racing and the establishment of a Maui's dolphin Research Advisory Group.

SAVE THE MAUI'S!!!!!!!!!!!!

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