Are you able to identify the Māui dolphin from the photos above?
Nikki Fothergill is a Project Jonah Marine Mammal Medic who is studying for a Diploma in Marine Studies at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic in Tauranga. For her second-year project she surveyed the New Zealand public to measure the level of awareness of Māui dolphins and their plight.
For her project, Nikki interviewed 248 people in Auckland, Manawatu, Tauranga and Wellington. She found that 85% of people knew what a Māui dolphin was, however that was the limit of most of their knowledge.
Her results found that:
- Only 29% of people interviewed knew that Māui dolphins’ home range is the North Island’s west coast.
- 45% knew that Māui dolphins’ identifying feature is their rounded dorsal fin.
- Encouragingly, 60% successfully picked the Māui dolphin image out of four different New Zealand dolphin species.
- Of concern was that just 27% of those who were aware of Māui dolphins knew how to report sightings to Department of Conservation.
Nikki hopes that her research will assist the Department of Conservation in their work towards conservation and awareness of this critically endangered species.
Answer: The Māui dolphin is photo number 4.
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