It’s not just freshwater species on our islands that need help, with the critically endangered Maui's dolphin having a population of only 63 adults.
Over the last 10 years, restrictions have been placed on set nets, trawling and drift nets, and a marine mammal sanctuary has been established on the west coast of the North Island. A number of conservation organisations have run campaigns raising awareness about the dolphins, and The Endangered Species Foundation of New Zealand are currently working with the fishing industry to change to dolphin-safe fishing techniques.
Senior technical advisor Mike Thorsen says it was only in 2002 that scientists realised the Maui's dolphin was a distinct subspecies from the Hector’s, and that it was critically endangered.
“Conservation in the sea is very difficult because there are so few animals in such a large area where we cannot look easily.”
He says New Zealand has long been a world leader in conservation and he thinks we still are.
On a day-to-day basis, he says the key actions we can take are recycling plastics, keeping water free of pollutants, riparian planting, taking only what we need, and supporting conservation organisations including councils and the Government.