Not only is Maui’s dolphin one of the smallest known dolphins it also happens to be one of the rarest dolphins with estimates stating that there may be less than 100 Maui’s dolphins in existence today.
These dolphins appear to only be found swimming off the west coast of the North Island in New Zealand.
Because of their small size these dolphins are primarily found living in and around the coastline near the shore in waters that are less than 60 – 70 feet in-depth where they can avoid threats from larger predators and easily maintain their pod size without fear of losing sight of one another.
How small is Maui’s dolphin?
In terms of size Maui’s dolphin can grow to an average length of around 4 – 6 feet and weigh around 95 – 115 pounds.
Maui’s dolphin belongs to the toothed whale suborder and can be quickly noticed because of its small black rounded dorsal fin located on its back and its short snout.
These dolphins have gray sides and backs with white and black markings located across various parts of their bodies.
While the species is extremely small it is estimated that Maui’s dolphin has an estimated lifespan of about 20 years.
What does Maui’s dolphin eat?
Maui’s dolphin is known to eat a diet consisting mainly of small fish such as cod and flatfish.
They may also be seen consuming small squid.
Shortly after birth a baby Maui’s dolphin will consume milk from their mothers nipples until they are able to hunt and survive without their mothers support.
In many cases newborn dolphins are able to eat and hunt at around 6 months at which point they can begin to stop feeding from their mothers.
Where does Maui’s dolphin live?
As stated early Maui’s dolphin can be found swimming off the west coast of the North Island in New Zealand.
Previously Maui’s dolphin was also found living in the Taranaki area of West New Zealand, however they no longer appear to be living in that area.
Today they are only seen off the North West Coast of the central and upper North Island areas.
Is Maui’s dolphin endangered?
Yes, Maui’s dolphin is an endangered species.
In fact recent estimates state that there are less than 100 Maui’s dolphins in existence today.
While various efforts to protect Maui’s dolphin have been put into place their slow reproductive behaviors make it difficult for them to repopulate quick enough to replenish or grow their species.
What is the biggest dolphin?
On the opposite end of Maui’s dolphin is the Orca or killer Whale.
Despite its name the killer whale is actually a dolphin, in fact the killer whale is the largest of the dolphin species growing to lengths of up to 26 feet and weighing as much as 6 tons!