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Two lucky travelers got the incredible experience of swimming with a pod of rare Hector’s dolphins – the smallest species of dolphin – in Curio Bay, New Zealand.
Travel vlogger Jesse St Louis recorded footage of himself in the water while dolphins swim around him. “We had an amazing chance to swim with wild Hector’s dolphins on the South Coast of New Zealand. Hector’s dolphins are the smallest and rarest marine dolphins in the world,” he said. A full-grown adult is usually four to five feet long.
But St Louis also warned about the need to protect the animals: “Every year, more Hector’s dolphins are killed by fishing nets than are born, and so their numbers continue to decline. Urgent action is needed to save them. Entanglement in fishing nets, especially set nets and trawl nets, is the number one threat to Hector’s dolphins.” Credit: Jesse St Louis via Storyful
JESSE ST. LOUIS: The southern tip of the South Island of New Zealand is known to be home to about 20 Hector's dolphins. They are one of the smallest and rarest marine mammals in the entire world, with only 7,000 remaining. This delicate population is known to feed close to shore here, which is why this bay in particular is a good place to catch a glimpse of these rare Hector's dolphins.
They feed close to shore. And this is one of the only places in New Zealand where you can find these dolphins so close to shore without having to entice them by feeding them, which we never want to feed the wildlife anyway. So today, we're going to go take a swim and see if any rare Hector's dolphins want to play with us.
Oh, there's a bunch right there. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. So again, we don't want to harass the wildlife. But if they come up to us, it's all good. Just going for a swim, seeing if we can make any new friends.
Surrounded by like 20 dolphins right now. This is amazing.
- We can't eat oysters because they dredge them here. And these dolphins feed off the grasses off the bottom. And so by eating the oysters, you're helping destroy their habitat. And also, they get caught in the fishing nets. And they're so beautiful. We have to protect them.