WDC makes a splash for Maui dolphins

By Cecily Morgan

Known for their lovableness and friendliness and seen as a symbol of protection and harmony in many cultures, dolphins bring a touch of magic to our waters. Portrayed in books and television as bubbly and playful friends of mermaids, surfers, and other beach-dwellers, it’s hard not to be charmed by these creatures. However, the reality of Maui dolphins’ situation is far from magical.

The Maui dolphin, found exclusively off the west coat of North Island in New Zealand, is the smallest and most precious subspecies of dolphin.  With stubby snouts, rounded dorsal fins, and bodies dappled with white, black, and grey markings, these petite dolphins are as distinctive as they are adorable. However, unfortunately, the enchanting sea creatures are classed as critically endangered, with only 43-47 of them left in existence, according to estimates. Out of these, only 10 are mature females, meaning that chances of reproduction are slim. Furthermore, fishing bycatch poses a major threat to the Maui dolphin population as they can become entangled in fishing nets and subsequently drown.

However, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is making a splash in the fight to prevent these heart-breaking deaths and protect the species. This effort includes lobbying all the political parties of New Zealand to ban trawling and netting in areas that the dolphins inhabit. To emphasise this, the WDC has developed an educational document to justify their position in preparation for the general election which is set to take place in the country in September. The charity is also behind a citizen science project designed in an effort to gain the support of local people and gather data on the presence of Hector’s dolphins, of which Maui dolphins are a subspecies, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. As Maui dolphins are one of its subspecies, they can offer the Maui population a lifeline. It is thus imperative that their areas are protected, and the WDC is pushing for such measures with the current government.

As always, Critically Endangered Socks is doing its bit to help the beautiful Maui dolphins by supporting WDC in its mission, with profits from our Dolphin sock helping fund their lobbying and citizen science project. Sky-blue and turquoise, these lovely socks are the perfect way to add a splash of seaside style to your wardrobe, all whilst contributing to the protection of one of the ocean’s most beautiful, and most vulnerable, creatures.