Quarterly incident update reports - includes pathology reports
Quarterly updates are posted about Māui and Hector's dolphin incidents in early May, August, November and February each year. Individual updates are current as at the date of publication, results that are pending at that time will be updated as they are received. Incidents are now grouped per year but will still be updated every quarter.
In order to align reporting and maintain the integrity of government fishery observer programmes, data on observed captures will generally be reported here only in the quarterly report after the quarter that the incident occurred in. You can provide constructive feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where reports come from
The database relies on reports from the public of dead dolphins they have found. It is biased to areas visited frequently by people and so tends to have more reports from areas that have higher visitor numbers. The database also relies on reports from fishing vessels that may have caught dolphins during their fishing activity.
The earliest record in the database is from 1921. Some reports are historical records from museums or universities, but much of the information in the database is from reports investigated by DOC.
Currently, investigation of all Māui and Hector’s dolphin mortality includes:
- photographing the dolphin as it was found
- taking samples and measurements
- necropsy by veterinarians (the animal equivalent of an autopsy or post-mortem) to determine the cause of death and collect additional scientific samples and information.
What the database contains
The database contains a variety of information about each dolphin, including its sex, size, where it was found, any background information about the incident and information collected during the necropsy.
In some cases, dolphins may not have been assessed for a cause of death as the carcass may have been too decomposed to find out how the dolphin died. In some cases, there may be clear evidence for a dolphin’s cause of death (for example, a specific wound), although in others there may be no clear evidence at all.
Trainee Ranger Guy Brannigan measures a dead Hectors calf washed ashore at Warrington Beach near Dunedin in December 2012