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Collective action brings ‘awareness’ for Hector’s dolphins – Animal Justice Party

In a remarkable display of unity and shared purpose, individuals, experts and organisations spoke up for Hector’s dolphins before, during and after the SailGP race. The Animal Justice Party (AJP) is delighted that the unique and endangered Hector’s dolphins, and the marine reserve they live in, have received such interest.

Danette Wereta, General Secretary of AJP, stressed the importance of expert insights, stating, “We are fortunate to have dolphin conservation experts providing valuable information. Prioritising entertainment over animal welfare is something we can improve on -where is the voice of Hector’s dolphins in all of this?”

Their voice has been heard loudly and clearly this weekend as individuals, experts and communities came together to reject the recent criticisms from SailGP chief executive Sir Russell Coutts. This dismissive attitude towards the event’s potential impact on our marine life is deeply troubling, especially considering the critical importance of preserving this native species.

The decision to hold the SailGP event in a Marine Mammal Sanctuary, designated for the protection of Hector’s dolphins, raises serious concerns about balancing conservation with sporting events. “It’s concerning that the event’s management plan was hastily put together, especially considering Banks Peninsula’s status as a Marine Mammal Sanctuary and the Hector’s IUCN’s classification of endangered,” Wereta remarked. “However, we are pleased that the measures in it were taken seriously and the race paused, and then cancelled on Saturday to protect our native dolphins.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Conservation (DOC) highlighted the legal obligations under New Zealand law for protecting marine mammals showing this isn’t about creating hoops or red tape; it’s about following legal obligations. DOC outlined ‘All stakeholders involved in the SailGP event, including participants, support vessels, and spectators, are obligated to comply with these regulations. Compliance isn’t optional; it’s a legal requirement aimed at minimising harm to marine life.’

In their natural habitat, dolphins captivate us with their remarkable intelligence, playful behaviour, and complex social structures. Dolphins enjoying their natural ecosystem is not only beneficial for them but for us too. The World Animal Protection commissioned a report from independent research firm, Market Economics which shows protecting Māui and Hector’s dolphins benefits both conservation and New Zealand’s economy.

The swift response from concerned individuals and organisations highlights the power of collective action in driving positive change. AJP extends sincere gratitude to everyone involved in raising awareness and advocating for the protection of our precious native mammals.

 

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