Hector's dolphins
Image: Dina Engel and Andreas Maecker | ©


Hector’s dolphins are one of the world’s smallest dolphins. They are mostly found around the coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Population: About 15,000 individuals older than 1 year.
Conservation status: Nationally vulnerable.
Found: Around the South Island of New Zealand, with some individuals recorded around the North Island.
Threats: fishing, toxoplasmosis and other diseases, oil and gas exploration, boat strike, mining, tourism, noise
Size: Adult dolphins are about 1.5 m in length.
Distinctive features:

  • Hector’s dolphins have a distinctive rounded dorsal fin that looks like one of Mickey Mouse’s ears.
  • Their bodies are grey with black and white markings.
  • They look the same as Māui dolphin.
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