The body of a Māui or Hector’s dolphin has been found washed up on an Auckland beach.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) says a member of the public reported the dolphin carcass on Awhitu Peninsula, Auckland, yesterday.
The dolphin was collected by DOC staff yesterday evening, with local iwi assisting in the search. It will now be sent to Massey University for a necropsy to try to determine the cause of death, the Department said in a statement.
“We would like to thank Ngāti Te Ata for their help searching for the dolphin and facilitating access across private land which helped us to find the dolphin,” said DOC Tāmaki Makaurau Operations Manager, Rebecca Rush.
“We urge the public to report any sightings or deaths as soon as possible to our emergency hotline and provide an accurate location so we can locate the dolphin quickly. Every hour is critical.
“Every dead dolphin that can’t be necropsied is a lost opportunity to better understand what is threatening the dolphins.”
With between 48 and 64 individuals left, Māui dolphins are critically endangered and are only found on the west coast of the North Island, Ms Rush said.
Hector’s dolphins number about 15,000 and are primarily located around the South Island, though individuals are occasionally found around the North Island.
DOC is calling on the public to photograph and report any sightings of Māui or Hector’s dolphins to the emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) or online: Marine mammal sighting form.