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Archive for October 20th, 2009

US Woman killed Swimming with Dolphins in NZ

Posted by feww on October 20, 2009

American Woman Killed in New Zealand while Swimming with [Agitated] Dolphins

A 27-year-old American woman on an “eco-tour” was killed this morning while swimming with a school of dolphins in Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.

In December last year, Moko, a three-year-old bottlenose dolphin,  who had been swimming off a local beach for more than 18 months, bringing fish and seahorses for people, was reported as being abused.

Moko, a bottlenose who normally spends her time playing, bailed out two pygmy sperm whales that humans were struggling to help.The whales, a mother and calf, were stranded on Mahia Beach and had been in the care of human rescuers for over an hour. Initally successful, the workers were horrified to see the whales beach themselves again on a sandbar four times, indicating that they were probably on their way to an agonizing, complex death. It was at that point, Moko, who was described by an official on the scene as “altruistic” appeared, and let the pygmy sperm whales 200 yards down the beach to an open channel. There have been many instances of dolphins assisting weak swimmers, which may be instinctual, but this appears to be the first instance of interspecies help. Source of image and caption. May be subject to copyright. [Via NewZeelend]

Swimmers were  “roughhousing” with Moko, scarring his skin with sharp fingernails, watches and items of jewelery.

Moko finally left Mahia in late August 2009 after more than two years.

A report released in  July, 2007 said:

Fiordland is one of the most popular areas for eco-tourists coming to New Zealand, but a report released late yesterday revealed vessels in Doubtful Sound are hurting the viability of the dolphin population there.

“It is highly likely that the existing range and intensity of impacts will lead to the Doubtful Sound complex dolphin population becoming extinct within 45 years,” according to a report released by NZ’s Department of Conservation (DOC).

There were 69 dolphins in the Doubtful Sound community in 1994, but by 2006, that had dropped to 56, with more dolphins dying or being killed than were being born.

A report by a marine ecologist, David Lusseau, who studied the Doubtful Sound dolphins from 1999 to 2002, revealed that  dolphins were diving for longer periods to avoid boats.

“Dive intervals were significantly longer when boat were present.”

His study showed 70.6 per cent of dolphin-boat interactions violated the Marine Mammal Protection Regulations …

In the five year period from 1994 to 1999, there were stillbirths in two of the years averaging 0.6 stillbirths a year, however, “between 2000 and 2006 this figure increased to stillbirths in five of the six years, to average 1.6 a year.” [Jumped by nearly 6 folds!]

The Baby Dolphins Death Row

Deep Cut: photos courtesy of Care For The Wild International

Dead Hector’s Dolphin: More marine mammals are being injured and killed in collisions with boats carrying Eco-tourists in New Zealand. Photo courtesy of CDNN

“Eco-Tourism” Swim Programs

Dolphins can and do act aggressively toward humans in eco-tour swim programs due to the tremendous stress caused by hordes of  tourists visiting marine habitat day in, day out.

Injuries inflicted on people by stressed dolphins  include broken arms, broken ribs, lacerations … and  death!

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Posted in American Killed in NZ, animal cruelty, Dolphin abuse, Marine Mammal Protection, Moko left Mahia, olphin population | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »