How much do Kiwis know about Maui dolphins?



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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About Author

Project Jonah is a registered charity and a New Zealand organisation, with a distinct flavour and feel. We pride ourselves on being passionate, honest, open and down to earth – things that Kiwis are well known for, both here and overseas. We exist for one simple reason – marine mammals desperately need our help. We've pioneered whale rescue techniques, and have shared this technology and expertise with the rest of the world. Whilst the animals are central to what we do, it’s people that make our work possible. Our strength comes from our volunteers; everyday Kiwis that give up their time to help marine mammals through our rescue, action and protection programs. Whether they’re picking up litter on beaches or getting hands on in rescuing stranded whales, they’re out there helping. Whatever the weather. New Zealand can lead the world in marine mammal welfare and protection. Your help puts us closer to that goal.

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