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Project information

Save the New Zealand dolphin

WDC wants to create large safe havens in every ocean of the world to protect the places whales and dolphins live. You can help us protect the places they choose to feed, breed, raise their young, rest and socialize. We especially need your help to save the critically endangered New Zealand dolphin

August 2012 - December 2015

Charity information: WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation

WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation logo
  • Need


    In 1970, there were 30,000 New Zealand dolphins. Today there are just 7,000. Fishing nets kill these unique little dolphins and they are dying at a catastrophic rate. And for the small subpopulation around New Zealand’s North Island, known as the Maui’s dolphin, the situation is even more critical – there are fewer than 100 left alive!

    All the dolphins need to ensure their future is a safe place to live – an area free from the death-nets that could cause their extinction.


    We need to persuade the New Zealand Government to create a New Zealand Dolphin Sanctuary, banning gill and trawl nets in areas shallower than 100m. We will save an entire species! Creating this sanctuary could mean the difference between life and death for the 7,000 dolphins alive today. If the Government creates this vital sanctuary, the population could start to increase again.
    WDC is working to create safe homes for whales and dolphins in every ocean of the world.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Create safe havens, protecting the places whales and dolphins feed, breed, socialize and raise young


    » Influence governments and those who make conservation decisions on a regional and international level.

    What success will look like

    12 sanctuaries will be established to protect whales and dolphins. Internationally recognized management plans will be implemented.

    Aim 2

    Raise awareness and public support for whale and dolphin protection.


    » Work with coastal communities to make positive changes in boat handling, fishing practices and responsible tourism.

    What success will look like

    Educational workshops and promotional material will be delivered, to involve coastal communities in whale and dolphin protection.

    Aim 3

    Reduce man-made threats to whales, dolphins and their homes.


    » Develop and implement long-term management plans for each protected area. Management plans will address issues such as entanglement in fishing nets.

    What success will look like

    Management plans will include measures to protect whales and dolphins from whaling, entanglement in fishing gear, marine debris, collisions with ships and human disturbance.

  • Impact


    We will save the critically endangered New Zealand dolphin from extinction!

    And, with your support, we will create safe-havens for whales and dolphins in every ocean of the world, including the Ross Sea, the Hebrides and the Costa Rica Dome. These sanctuaries will protect these remarkable and intelligent creatures from hunting, entanglement in fishing nets, noise pollution, collisions with ships and human disturbance


    National governments have conflicting agendas towards the marine environment, resulting in complex national laws and perspectives. WDC works closely with United Nations, the European Commission and other conventions and treaties to establish international practices to reduce the risk posed by these conflicting agendas. We also commission scientific studies and engage experts who can reduce the risk of inaction by recommending best courses in view of the data available.


    WDC will keep in regular contact via email and you can subscribe to our award-winning magazine, Whale & Dolphin which will keep you up to date with this and all our campaigns. Our website provides up to the minute information and you can also follow our campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £7,500

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      Amount Heading Description
      £3,000 Science and research Ensuring the most critical locations are protected.
      £2,000 Analysis of plans Making sure whales and dolphins are properly protected by proposed sanctuaries.
      £2,500 Campaigning and lobbying Meeting with governments and industry to convince them to take action.
  • Background


    We aim to set up protected areas wherever there are vulnerable and endangered whale and dolphin populations, but at present we are focusing on 12 areas: New Zealand, the Hebrides (UK), Ross Sea (Antarctica), Southeast Shoal of the Grand Bank, Commander Islands / Kamchatka (Russian Far East), Costa Rica Dome (E. Pacific), Alboran Sea (Mediterranean), Bangladesh, Saya de Malha Banks (w Indian Ocean), Moon Reef (Fiji), the Caribbean and the South American River Dolphin Protected Network


    We can save the New Zealand dolphin from extinction!

    And, whales, and dolphins in every ocean of the world will benefit from this project - WDC's goal is to design and create large safe havens around the world to safeguard the future of whales and dolphins everywhere.

    Coastal communities will benefit from sustainable fishing practices and increased ecotourism. Sustainable wildlife tourism will benefit entire communities and visitors alike.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    WDC is the leading global charity dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales and dolphins.
    We have a long-standing track record in marine science and a commitment to giving whales and dolphins the protection they so desperately need, now and for as long as it takes.

    We have an excellent track record of working with governments on marine protected areas and other initiatives, as well as running successful campaigns to protect whales and dolphins.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Erich Hoyt

    Erich Hoyt, author of the definitive book Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises, leads the project.

    Mike Bossley

    Mike Bossley leads our work to create homes for whales and dolphins in Australia and New Zealand.

    Sarah Dolman

    Sarah Dolman leads our work to create homes for whales and dolphins in Scotland and the North East Atlantic.

    Cara Miller

    Cara Miller leads our work to create homes for whales and dolphins in the Pacific.

Save the New Zealand dolphins

Save the New Zealand dolphins

It's not enough to save whales and dolphins from harpoons and nets. We have to save their habitat - their homes in the sea.

Erich Hoyt, WDC