In a recent development, the government of New Zealand has prohibited the many tourists that come to float along with bottlenose dolphins. This isn’t the only law passed by the Department of Conservation in the last few months.
Most of the new laws are focused on the conservation of dolphins and have actually been in motion since the first of July, 2019. Along with decreasing interaction time to 20 minutes, the laws also dictate closing off of most of the areas in Roberton Island and Tapeka Point. These laws have been applied to all operators operating on a commercial basis.
The Department has notified all operators that they must restrict time for viewing either before 12 pm, or before 6 pm, but never both timings. This would ensure that there was a period of time when no interaction between dolphins and humans would take place.
All these laws come off as a result of several reports being published, which stated that such interaction between the animals and humans were bound to create problems with the former- especially in their resting period. The Endangered Species Research published a report in 2010, which dictated that too much physical interaction between dolphins and humans would result in psychological problems in the former.
Apart from the laws, there has been an increase in the percentage of calf mortality, being 75% of the entire demography. Needless to say, this isn’t just a national misfortune, but a global one too. The number of bottlenose dolphins residing or frequenting the Bay of Islands too has diminished significantly since 1999, with just 19 dolphins visiting now.
These creatures are not just extremely smart, but also sexually aroused most of the times, along with being somewhat creepy. But the Red List of IUCN has listed them as beings of ‘least concern’. Bottlenose dolphins, especially, are extremely friendly, either with their own species, or other creatures, and would happily let you pat them.
The Conservation Department doesn’t hesitate to mention that this interaction is getting too much for the dolphins. In some places, they can even be mutilated horribly as most animals in the entertainment business do, or they can suffer from severe trauma as well. The need of the hour is to respect the animals and let them be on their own.
IMAGE CREDIT: Flickr