Marine mammal sightings
New Zealand has earned its reputation as the marine mammal capital of the world because of its profusion of marine mammals. The Department of Conservation is responsible for the protection, conservation and management of all marine mammals.
To understand more about marine mammals in our waters we need more information about them. This is where you can help by reporting sightings.
Get a good look, be observant, especially of the tail, fins and head. Make lots of notes, draw pictures if need be; photos and video footage are very useful.
Please help with your observations
Use the online form to report a whale or dolphin sighting. Your sighting report will be recorded in a database of marine mammal sightings from all around New Zealand. This information will help us determine things like population sizes, breeding rates and movement patterns. Ultimately this helps us to look after them.
You can also download the marine mammal sighting form (PDF, 416K) or (Word, 4,300K - note this is a large file). These forms include images of marine mammals to help with species identification.
Call DOC HOTline immediately
If you see:
- a southern right whale
- a Maui’s dolphin
- an entangled or stranded marine mammal
please call the DOC HOTline (0800 362 468) immediately.