Hector's Dolphins are the smallest and rarest dolphins in the world. They have two subspecies; the South Island Hector's which are endangered and found only around the South Island of New Zealand, and the Maui's which are critically endangered and only found around the North Island of New Zealand.
Hector's were named after the curator of the Colonial Museum in Wellington (now Te Papa Museum), Sir James Hector, who examined the first specimen found.
Here at E-Ko, we're only likely to see South Island Hector', if we're lucky!
Hector's are easily recognizable by their rounded dorsal fin (wich is unique to them!), their light grey and white bodies, and the black mask across their face.
Hector's can grow to be about 1.5 meters in length, and females are typically larger than males.
They can live up to 20 years.
Females can have their first calf when their about 7 to 9 years old, and have one every 2 to 3 years after that. This means that the population growth is very slow.
At birth, calves are usually about 60-80cm in length and weigh in at about 8-10 kg.
These beautiful dolphins are a protected species, so we are unable to swim with them, however just getting the opportunity to see them is something incredibly special!
We are dedicated to keeping our Marine Wildlife safe, so if you're ever out on a boat please follow the rules set by the DOC.
- Carefully approach dophins from their side and slighty to the rear. Do not obstruct their path, cut through the group, or separate mothers from their calves.
- Approach slowely and quietly at 'no wake' speed if within 300m.
- Only three vessels OR aircraft within 300m of the group.
All photos provided by Rob Pine
For more information, please follow the links below.