Today we are celebrating Endangered Species Day! A day started to encourage people to become aware of the threats to endangered species on the land and in the oceans.
There are events taking place across the globe at parks, schools and museums, you can find out about events going on near you today here!
But if you are unable to attend an event there are other ways of celebrating today. The endangered species coalition have put together a "toolkit" for endangered species day including a Bucket List of Endangered Species and even some fun Masks for kids!
Here at Ocean Helper we have decided to raise awareness for Hector's Dolphins.
About Hector's Dolphins
Hector's dolphins reside in the shallow coastal waters of New Zealand. They were named after Sir James Hector, the first curator of the Colonial Museum in Wellington and the most influential scientist of his time (1834 - 1907).
These dolphins are the smallest of all dolphin species, growing to around 4 feet in length and weighing up to 110 pounds and they can live for around 22 years. They are also, sadly, the rarest species of dolphin, with around 7000 left in the ocean. The subspecies, Maui's dolphins are at even greater risk of extinction as there is estimated to only be 63 left.
These dolphins love to live close to the shore, which means they are easy to encounter and see but also puts them at great risk. The top threat that Hector's dolphins face is from the fishing industry. Fishing gear such as Gillnets and trawl nets often pose a serious danger to New Zealand's native dolphins who are at risk of bycatch. In particular Gillnets cannot be detected by dolphins underwater because they are made from a fine mesh.
Other threats that Hector's dolphins face include being struck by large boats, pollution in their habitat (plastic pollution & other marine debris), coastal development along with drilling and mining on the seabed.
How can we help protect them?
Organisations like WWF are working tirelessly to end the use of Gillnets and trawlers in Hector's dolphins habitats. In 1988 a sanctuary was established to help to reduce the deaths of the dolphins from bycatch. Over the years more and more restrictions have come in on set-nets along with more sanctuaries.
We can all help in our own way to protect these creatures. Be it raising awareness and campaigning against the use of gillnets and trawlers in the habitat of Hector's dolphins. Reducing your plastic waste will also help to protect these creatures and countless others too!
If you are interested in learning more about conservation efforts to protect Hector's dolphins then check out Akaroa Dolphins website for more information. Plus, if you live in New Zealand or are planning a trip then be sure to find out about the tours and maybe you'll even get the chance to swim with them!
Free Gift For Endangered Species Day!
To raise awareness for Hector's dolphins we are giving away a FREE Dolphin Necklace (usually worth $24.95) when you spend over $25 online today! This necklace would act as a fabulous represent to your commitment to raise awareness for the rare Hector's Dolphin.