Introduction

Preliminary test results have shown that the dolphin recovered from a Taranaki beach last week had DNA characteristics more consistent with Hector’s dolphin than Māui dolphin.

Date:  09 May 2012

Preliminary DNA test results released by the University of Auckland have shown that the dolphin recovered from a Taranaki beach last week had DNA characteristics more consistent with Hector’s dolphin, rather than Māui dolphin.

Further DNA tests are underway to confirm exactly which sub-species the dolphin was. These results could be many weeks away.

The animal died of natural causes and DOC is still awaiting results of further tests into what may have contributed to its death. There were no signs that the dolphin died in fishing nets or by any other human interaction.

The Department will provide this new information to the Minister of Conservation to take account of as she considers a proposed extension to the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary and the review of the Threat Management Plan for Hector’s and Māui dolphin.

Consultation on the proposed extension to the current boundaries of the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary to protect Māui dolphin closed on the 27th of April and advice to the Minister of Conservation will be provided following a summary of submissions in the coming weeks.

The preliminary DNA report also included results from a dolphin that of natural causes in Manukau Harbour in October of 2011.  That animal also showed DNA characteristics more consistent with a Hector’s dolphin.

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