WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy today said: "We are so sad to hear this news. While it's too early to know what happened, with only around 60 adult Māui dolphins remaining, the death of just one is a tragedy."
"We express particular condolences to the local iwi and hapu, as kaitiaki for Māui dolphins. We know that Kiwis love these dolphins. This death pushes an already critically-endangered population closer to extinction. None of us want to see the Māui dolphin become extinct, Not on our watch."
Livia went on to explain:
"Science tells us that the biggest threat they face right now is from set nets and conventional trawling, but less than 8% of the Māui dolphin habitat is protected from both these forms of fishing."
"We've been working with two fishing companies: Moana New Zealand and Sanford. They voluntarily promised to switch to fishing methods that don't kill dolphins across the Māui dolphin habitat. We applaud this move towards greater protection for our native species and the commitment these companies are showing to doing the right thing."
And the time is right for New Zealanders to have a say into how we protect them in the future too. Livia continued: "At the moment, the government is building the scientific basis for a plan to protect these dolphins. Called a Threat Management Plan, we are working hard to ensure this plan is the best it can be, and creates the most likely opportunities for the Māui dolphin to thrive."
"Scientists tell us that it's not too late. Every New Zealander can play a part in protecting these precious dolphins. The government needs to hear that New Zealanders want a future for the Māui dolphin, so please write to the Prime Minster at wwf.org.nz/priceless if you agree.
"We have a responsibility to our tamariki, our mokoponua and to the generations to come to do all we can to protect these last remaining Māui dolphins and work together for a result we can all be proud of."