Maui’s dolphin found dead at Raglan

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A conservation group says the discovery of a dead Maui’s dolphin at Raglan Beach on Friday highlights the urgent need to increase protection of the endangered mammal.

It is the fourth dead Maui’s dolphin recovered this summer.

Forest and Bird Conservation Advocate Kirstie Knowles says the cause of the latest death is unknown, but says set nets are the biggest threat to the animal.

“Maui’s dolphin is on the brink of extinction so the loss of a fourth dolphin this summer increases the chance the species will disappear unless immediate action is taken to protect them,” Knowles says.

She says current set net bans, which exclude nets from four nautical miles off the coast, and just inside the harbour, are not enough and provide no protection for dolphins inside harbours or south of the exclusion zone. Knowles believes a total set net ban is the only answer.

Maui’s dolphins are found only in waters off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand and it is thought there are only 111 left.