Protect Critically Endangered Dolphins from Oil Exploration

Maui's dolphins

Target: Nick Smith, New Zealand Minister of Conservation

Goal: Demand a moratorium on mining and fossil fuel exploration in the habitat of the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin

Maui’s dolphins are the smallest and rarest dolphins in the world. They live exclusively off the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, and have a slow reproductive cycle. Scientists estimate that as few as 55 Maui’s dolphins older than one year are left, and those that remain face constant threats from fishing and fossil fuel exploration. Without a sincere commitment from the government of New Zealand these beautiful, intelligent creatures could soon disappear forever.

Some crucial steps have been taken, such as banning set-net fishing. But underwater explosions from oil and gas exploration and the impacts of seabed mining continue to pose a real risk. The International Whaling Commission has argued that the dolphins’ survival depends on stricter conservation efforts, reports the Guardian, but top environmental officials in the nation’s government disagree.

Nick Smith, New Zealand’s Minister of Conservation, told the Guardian Australia: “There are some extreme green groups that are critical of the government’s steps to protect the Maui’s dolphin but I’m confident I’m doing everything practical to ensure their survival.” He went on to admit that restricting mining activity in their habitat is considered less than practical, claiming “It would be economic lunacy to shut down the petroleum industry in that area.”

Call on the government of New Zealand to protect one of the nation’s only endemic dolphin species from extinction. Demand that officials ban resource extraction and exploration in Maui’s dolphin habitat.


Dear Minister Smith,

The survival of the tiny Maui’s dolphin should be a priority for New Zealand’s environmental officials. I am grateful for the steps that have been taken thus far, such as banning set-net fishing, yet continue to fear for the dolphins’ health and safety. Mining activity in their habitat poses a real threat to the species’ survival.

The Maui’s dolphin is already critically endangered. Perhaps as few as 55 individuals older than 1 year remain in the wild, and their slow rate of reproduction makes each death all the more tragic. Females give birth to just one baby dolphin every two to four years, and it takes as many as nine years before they reach reproductive age.

Please, heed the advice of the International Whaling Commission and members of your country’s own Green Party: redouble your efforts to save the Maui’s dolphin. Commit to banning seabed mining, oil and gas exploration and other resource extraction in their habitat. Without this crucial step the species is almost certain to face extinction in your lifetime.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Department of Conservation, New Zealand via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Please protect these intelligent, wonderful, rare dolphins

  2. Sam Outhorn says:

    “Economic lunacy” indeed. Maybe use your imagination and find other ways to boost the economy? Oceans belong to the creatures of the sea; not to oil rigs, oil spills and all the evils accompanying!

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