Introduction

A Hector's dolphin was seen at Midway Surf Club at 7 am Monday 5 December. The Department of Conservation is keen to hear from any member of the public who might have also sighted the dolphin.

A Hector’s dolphin was seen at Midway Surf Club, Gisborne at 7am Monday 5 December 2011. The Department of Conservation (DOC) is keen to hear from any member of the public who might have also sighted the dolphin.

We are confident that it was a Hector’s dolphin which is one of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins says Programme Manager, Biodiversity Assets James Holborow.

“The last sighting in East Coast waters was at Tatapouri in October 2010.”

“Hector’s dolphins are found only in the inshore waters of New Zealand. Two sub-species of Hector’s dolphins exist: the South Island Hector’s dolphin and the Māui dolphin found off the West Coast of the North Island” says Mr Holborow.

Hector’s and Māui are the only dolphins in New Zealand that have a well rounded black dorsal fin.  Their bodies are a distinctive grey, with white and black markings and a short snout.  Adult South Island Hector’s dolphins don’t often exceed 1.5 metres in length and weigh between 40 and 60 kg. While Māui dolphins grow to 1.7 metres and weigh up to 50kg.  Males are slightly smaller and lighter than females for both species. 

“We are keen to receive any photos and location details of sightings of the Hector’s dolphin. This will assist in identifying the dolphin and with ongoing research about Hector’s and Māui dolphins” says Mr Holborow.

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