Conservationists are speaking out after a controversial permit was approved to allow seabed mining exploration in a marine sanctuary for New Zealand's critically endangered Maui Dolphins.
The Maui dolphins at the center of this controversy are a subspecies of increasingly rare Hector's dolphins, who can be found nowhere else on Earth except the west coast of New Zealand's North Island.
Despite actions taken to protect them, including the creation of the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary in 2008, they've yet to make a meaningful comeback.
Today, Maui dolphins are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and there are only believed to 63 or fewer left in existence.
While the government has pledged to take actions to protect them, their future has been put in further jeopardy by a permit that will allow a mining company to explore for minerals in the very sanctuary that was created to protect them, and it could potentially lead to mining there.
While the Department of Conservation couldn't have stopped the exploration permit from going forward, it has expressed serious concerns, and it can act to protect this fragile population of dolphins by ensuring no further permits are granted for mining in the area.
Please sign and share this petition calling on New Zealand's Department of Conservation to ensure no further extractive activities are permitted in the Maui dolphins' habitat.