Wild Fact #181 – Help Save the Dolphins – Hector’s Dolphin

Smallest and Rarest Dolphin - Hector's Dolphin

Photo by James Shook (Wikimedia)

Did You Know?

  • The Hector’s Dolphin is among the smallest and rarest marine dolphin’s in the world (Tweet This)
  • This dolphin species can only be found along the coasts of New Zealand
  • The Hector Dolphin has a rounded dorsal fin, which distinguishes them from other dolphins in the area

The Smallest and Rarest Dolphin

Being among the smallest dolphins in the world is an impressive feat for the Hector’s Dolphin and one I am sure they are proud of (if dolphins experience human emotions such as pride), however, being the rarest marine dolphin in the world is probably a title they would be happy to lose. Unfortunately, commercial fishing, pollution and habitat loss have decimated their population to the point where there are less than 8000 individuals remaining in the wild. This may sound like quite a bit but don’t kid yourself, that population estimate is low enough to get these beautiful animals listed as being an Endangered Species. Unfortunately, if things don’t change soon, the next listing (and title) they will receive is that of extinct. Okay, perhaps they will be critically endangered before being listed as extinct but the point remains…these animals are in jeopardy of vanishing forever.

Smallest and Rarest Dolphin - Hector's Dolphin

Photo by Avenue (Wikimedia)


9 Years of Parenting

The slow reproduction cycle of the Hector’s Dolphin definitely doesn’t help their population problem. You see, the females will typically give birth to their calves in late spring/early summer – after a very elaborate courtship dance involving belly dances and chasing, of course. Unfortunately, an individual dolphin will not reproduce again until their calves are fully independent, which wouldn’t be too bad except for the fact that the calves don’t reach maturity until they are between 6 and 9 years old. Now I know a lot of parents are thinking that 9 years of parenting would be a cake walk and you  you would completely skip over the teenage years.


Get Involved!

So what if you want to get involved to help save the smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world, what can you do? The first place I would turn to is the WWF. They have a campaign set up  to help preserve the Hector’s and Maui’s  (a sub-species) Dolphin. Please visit their Dolphin Conservation efforts by clicking the link below and donate to the cause (any little bit will help).


One Response

  1. bob 4 years ago

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