Global Society/Local Communication [Environment]
For details please see [Sustainability Report 2008] (Issued on July, 2008)
Maui's Dolphin is distinctive for its small size and rounded dorsal fin
Wild places define New Zealand and many New Zealanders have a strong bond with nature. Many wildlife species are unique to New Zealand as a result of 80 million years of isolated evolution. However, many of these endemic species are under pressure from human activities and foreign species introduced to the country by early settlers. TNZ has been working with the conservation organization WWF-New Zealand for 25 years in an effort to help protect New Zealand's biodiversity for future generations.
An important part of this long-standing partnership has been WWF's work to protect the critically endangered Maui's Dolphin. The Maui's Dolphin is the world's most rare dolphin and is found only off the northwest coast of New Zealand's North Island. It is listed as an endangered species by the international conservation organization IUCN, and only about 100 dolphins remain at present. Reasons for their decline in numbers include entanglement and drowning in set nets and drift nets, trawl fishing, boat strikes, as well as pollution. In order to protect the dolphins, WWF has been pressing the government to completely ban the use of set nets and ban trawling in the shallow waters where the dolphins live, and its proposals have led to the establishment of four new marine mammal sanctuaries.
In addition to providing funding for the project and loaning hybrid vehicles, TNZ has provided a toll free number for Maui's Dolphin sightings using TNZ's call center for more than seven years. The system makes it easy for the public to report sights of the dolphin to the WWF. Chris Howe, Executive Director for WWF-New Zealand, says "These sightings are incredibly valuable in supporting WWF's calls for more protection for the dolphins as they make clear the extent of the range and movements of the Maui's Dolphin."