Thursday, 20 September 2007

Warrington Reserve Group launches rare dolphin survey

Hectors's Dolphins are endangered and we need your help!
Warrington Reserve Group is keen to tap into local knowledge so that
we build up a resource of sightings of our rare Hector's Dolphins. Not
enough is known about the Hector's Dolphins along the South Island
East Coast, which is why we are asking for your help. You can
participate in protecting these dolphins by helping us understand more
about them.

We want to get an idea of population numbers, and their movements up
and down the East Coast. We don't want anyone to change their regular
behaviour, but if you are on the beach most days, walking or surfing,
or out in boats regularly, fishing or kayaking, we want to give you an
opportunity to record what you see. The survey forms are an easy way
for your information to be collected. A couple of minutes of your time
would help us build up a better picture of our dolphin population.

Warrington Reserve Group has teamed up with Associate Professor Liz
Slooten, from the University of Otago, and Jennie Upton, who is a
long-time Blueskin Bay resident, (previously from Waitati and now
living on the Kilmog). Jennie is currently an environmental education
head teacher at Port Chalmers School, and she has been awarded a
Teaching Fellowship for 2008. She will work with Liz who has been
researching Hector's Dolphins since 1984. They will be observing and
photographing the population of Hector's Dolphins between Oamaru and
Dunedin.

Liz and Jennie gave a very informative talk about the dolphins, their
planned research, and threats to the population. Submissions for the
draft Hector's Dolphins Threat Management Plan close on 24 October
2007. Both DOC and Ministry of Fisheries acknowledge the need for more
research on Hector's Dolphins.
Warrington Reserve Group wishes to support any research that can
contribute to our understanding about these dolphins and keep them
visiting our beaches.

We are hoping people in other coastal areas will also be keen to
record what they see, so if you know anyone between Oamaru and
Dunedin, who is on a boat or at the beach regularly, and is interested
in being involved, please contact Jennie 4658318 or Karen 822762.

Please remember to fill out each section of the survey, so that the
information you collect is scientifically valid.
Liz and Jennie are equally interested to know when the dolphins are
and are not sighted, so please record when you don't see them also.

If you walk on the bay side of the spit, do not include that as 'time
on the beach', just record the time spent on the beach side, where
dolphins would be visible to you.

Please include your name and phone number, so that we can contact you.

Survey forms will be collected on a monthly basis, and you can drop
the forms off at Blueskin General Store, or the return key slot at the
Warrington Post Office.

Forms are available from Jennie 465 8318 and Karen 482 2762

For more info see DolphinsDownSouth.wikispaces.com

by Karen Hobday

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voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
All our material is "copyleft" and may be freely re-edited and
republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".

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