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Experts want urgent action on rare New Zealand 'hobbit' dolphin

Published on Jun 10, 2014 11:41 AM
 

WELLINGTON (AFP) - Marine scientists have urged New Zealand to step up efforts to save the world's rarest dolphin, saying only a few dozen Maui's dolphins remain and immediate action is needed to prevent their extinction.

The Maui's dolphin, dubbed "the hobbit of the sea" and found only in shallow waters off the North Island's west coast, is listed as critically endangered, and the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) scientific committee said it was extremely concerned that fishing will entirely wipe out the sub-species.

"It is of the highest priority to take immediate management actions that will eliminate by-catch of Maui's dolphins," it said in a report published Tuesday.

"This includes full closure of any fisheries within the range of Maui's dolphins that are known to pose a risk." The grey and white Maui's, named after a Polynesian demi-god, is one of the world's smallest dolphins, with a maximum length of 1.7 metres (5.5 foot).

 
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