Community Scoop

Endangered Hector’s Dolphin Calves Spotted in Akaroa

Press Release – Black Cat Ferry

Not One But Three Endangered Hectors Dolphin Calves Spotted in Akaroa Harbour, Banks PeninsulaNot One But Three – Endangered Hector’s Dolphin Calves Spotted in Akaroa Harbour, Banks Peninsula

Passengers on Black Cat Cruises’ Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruises today (Thursday 30 November) were delighted to spot three Hector’s Dolphin calves.

Black Cat Cruises Sales and Marketing Manager Natasha Lombart says the crew spotted two mothers with their baby calves just past Onuku Bay in Banks Peninsula’s Akaroa Harbour this afternoon, after seeing a solo Hector’s Dolphin with its calf during the 9am cruise.

“We are always so excited when calves are spotted as Hector’s Dolphins are classified as endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN),” she says.
“Because of their coastal habitat and slow reproductive rate they are particularly vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear, especially gill nets, so spotting the calves today is a real treat for everyone.”
On-board Black Cat photographer Jono Hitchcox estimates that the calves were less than two weeks old as the foetal folds on the calves’ skin could be seen.

“We observed them from a distance for a few minutes and could see the mother was interested to show the calves the boat before getting some distance and disappearing,” he says.

“It’s fantastic to see these endangered dolphins with their calves. We’ll expect to see even more during the summer.”

Females usually have one calf every two to three years. The calves are 50 to 60 centimetres long at birth and stay close to their mothers who provide them with milk and protection for about a year until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Hector’s Dolphins are among the most endangered dolphins in the world. The calves will spend the next two years alongside their mothers before venturing off alone.

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