New Zealand marine mammals join critical list

Date: 2/12/2008

At least 1141 of the 5487 known mammal species are threatened worldwide, with 188 listed in the highest risk ‘critically endangered’ category. The ‘Red List’ assessment, issued by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, said one in three marine mammals were also threatened and the world Wildlife Fund said this was a warning for the survival of New Zealand’s marine mammals. WWF New Zealand’s marine programme manager Rebecca Bird said nearly all of New Zealand’s native mammals were found at sea. The many threatened with extinction include: the blue whale, fin whale, sperm whale and New Zealand sea lion. The list also includes the Hector’s dolphin, though the critically endangered maui’s dolphin – internationally recognised as the world’ rarest marine dolphin – is not listed separately because it is recorded as a North Island subspecies.

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