new Zealand: Watch Hec­tor’s dolphin (while you still can)

World of Animals - - Ex­plore The Earth -

The sec­ond small­est dolphin (a sub­species of the Hec­tor dolphin called the Maui is of­fi­cially the small­est) in the sea is dis­ap­pear­ing rapidly – there may be as few as 5,000 re­main­ing around the coast of its na­tive New Zealand.

A play­ful species, they ap­pear to en­joy drag­ging around strings of sea­weed (dol­phins steal one an­other’s sea veg­e­ta­tion as part of some sort of specieswide game). Th­ese an­i­mals are thought of as friendly and they will ap­proach boats.

There is a down­side to be­ing so cu­ri­ous though. As a coastal species, Hec­tor’s dol­phins of­ten be­come en­tan­gled in fish­ing gear, sadly drown­ing as a re­sult. How­ever, re­searchers are work­ing hard on tech­nol­ogy that could re­pel marine mam­mals from fish­ing nets.

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