Students from Cardinal McKeefry School joined the World Wildlife Fund last month in a call for the government to take action to save Hectors and Mauis dolphins from extinction.
The students went to Parliament on 15 November to join a symbolic presentation of an e-petition to the government. In the presentation at 1.11pm, the 111 school children represented the 111 Maui’s dolphins now estimated to be left in the world.
Wiped out in one generation
Hectors and Mauis dolphins live only in New Zealand, but their numbers have plummeted over the last 30 years due to human activity. Today, Mauis dolphins are the rarest marine dolphins in the world, and are recognised by The World Conservation Union as critically endangered.
Conservation groups and scientists believe that Maui’s dolphins will be effectively extinct within a generation, unless they are protected from all threats from human activity throughout their range. The main human threat to the dolphins is entanglement and drowning in set nets.
Over 30,000 people have backed WWF’s Stop Their Extinction action calling for all threats to the dolphins from human activity to be removed throughout their range. With total protection the threatened species can recover, says director Chris Howe. Failing to do so will mean that in 25 years—by the time the youngest among the 111 children at last month’s event reach their 30th birthdays—Mauis will effectively be extinct.
Action fits school syllabus
Cardinal McKeefry school principal, Colleen Restieaux, said environmental education was important to the school community. ‘Care and concern for all life is an intrinsic value for us. Encouragement of people to be aware of and consider issues concerning the dolphins connects well with our 2007 school-wide Take Action for the Environment theme.’
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Throughout the year students from Years 1 to 8 have worked on various aspects of a ‘Take Action for the Environment’ theme.
It began in a Take Action for Water project with the Wellington Regional Council and then morphed as the year went on into various areas of interest and action as determined by various groups of students. This culminated in a fabulous Take Action Display day where records of work undertaken were on display for families and community members.
‘Our response to WWF’s invitation fitted perfectly well with all we are working on and after all care and concern for life and the environment are core values for us,’ Colleen Restieaux said.