IT'S NOT A FISH!
We've all seen dolphins on TV and at marine shows. They're wonderful and highly intelligent mammals. This week I want to introduce you to a dolphin in danger.
Hector’s Dolphin is indigenous to the coastlines of New Zealand. They tend to stay in water that is less than 100 meters deep. That’s less than 300 feet. This brings them in direct contact with people and that's why they are in trouble.
Hector's Dolphin is considered 'endangered' by the IUCN*. There is a subspecies of Hector’s Dolphin, which is called Maui’s Dolphin, which is critically endangered and some scientists fear that it will become extinct within fifteen years. Hector’s Dolphin is found off the southern island of New Zealand and Maui’s Dolphin is found off the northern shores.
The decline in numbers is due mostly to by catch, (In the fishing industry, bycatch is the part of the catch made up of non-target species), which means that dolphins are unintentionally caught up in commercial and recreational fishermen’s nets. You are probably familiar with the statement ‘Dolphin Free’ which appears on some cans of tuna. This means that those fishermen use methods to avoid entangling dolphins in their nets. To learn more about this problem, visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/by_catch/bycatch_whatis.htm
Hector’s Dolphin is one of the smallest and rarest of all the dolphin species. It is short and ‘torpedo’ shaped. It has no discernible ‘beak’ and it has black markings on its dorsal fin and running along its side. They are approximately 3-5 feet long and weigh about 88 to 130 pounds.
Dolphins all have the same basic parts, and the below sketch will point them out to you. However, as stated above, Hector’s Dolphin and Maui’s Dolphin do not have a ‘beak.’
The flippers and flukes help the dolphin to swim. The blowhole is what the dolphin breathes through and the melon is the center of the dolphin’s ability to vocalize. Since dolphins traverse their sea world with the aid of sound (echolocation), the melon is also the dolphin’s GPS system.
Here's a wonderful video for you.
To learn more about Hector’s and Maui’s Dolphin, visit these sites:
I hope you learned something from this post, and that you will stop by again. Please feel free to comment or contact me at: Jeanne.firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions you may have.
*IUCN = International Union of Conservation for Nature
Jeanne E. Rogers, Award Winning Author
The Sword of Demelza and The Gift of Sunderland
Middle Grade Fantasy Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!