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Hector's death spark South Island probes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/03/2017

The deaths of two Hector's dolphins in Canterbury and the West Coast have sparked an investigation by officials. © Mikaela Bowmar (@mb_inthehutt) / Twitter The deaths of two Hector's dolphins in Canterbury and the West Coast have sparked an investigation by officials. Two Hector's dolphins have been found dead in on separate sides of the South Island and "human interference" indications have sparked officials to investigate.

One dolphin was found on a Greymouth beach last month and another found near Banks Peninsula on Sunday.

"The deaths are very concerning and there are indications the dolphins may have been subject to human interference," said Ministry for Primary Industries compliance investigations manager Gary Orr.

The ministry would not elaborate on what sort of interference the dolphins may have been subject to, however investigators are looking at identifying everyone who was fishing in the area before the animals were found.

Both deaths were not reported, as legally required, Mr Orr said.

The ministry and Department of Conservation will carry out the investigations.

Hector's dolphins, which are endemic to New Zealand, are an endangered species.

There are thought to be around 15,000 in the waters off the coast and there are fishing restrictions in place to protect them.

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