Hector’s dolphins are the highlight of many Black Cat cruises, and rightfully so. Known to be the smallest and friendliest dolphin species, Hector’s are found only in New Zealand. Aside from their playful dispositions, the dolphins are notable for their rounded dorsal fins and short snouts.
When Black Cat was established in 1985, we were determined to showcase these unique animals in their natural habitat and we’ve been proud to play a role in conserving the dolphins and their habitat for over twenty-five years. To help save the dolphins, Black Cat donates a portion of every passenger’s fare towards projects that support dolphin research and education.
The dolphin sanctuary
In 1989, a marine mammal sanctuary was put in place around Banks Peninsula. To protect the wildlife, the sanctuary placed restrictions on set netting (a commonly used fishing method), banning it for commercial use and restricting its recreational use. Set netting can be threat to marine wildlife, as seabirds or marine mammals are often accidentally entangled in the nets. During this time, Black Cat worked closely with renowned marine biologists Dr. Steve Dawson and Dr. Liz Slooten and continues to contribute to the preservation of this rare species.
More work to be done…
Sadly, even with established sanctuaries the Hector’s dolphin is an endangered species, with only between 5,000 and 7,000 left in the world. Threatened by fishing by-catch (such as by set nets), pollution and habitat destruction, it is crucial that we take care to preserve these animals. Here at Black Cat, we’ve taken measures to reduce waste in order to protect the dolphin’s habitat. We hope that these measures will help to ensure the future of the Hector’s dolphins.