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Source: istock

Wild Dolphin Interactions With Humans Prohibited in New Zealand's Bay of Islands

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Boat tours in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand are known for allowing tourists to swim in the water with wild bottlenose dolphins. But due to the species' dwindling population, the country's Department of Conservation has banned the activity, which will significantly limit human interaction with the vulnerable dolphins. This action is a great example of a government prioritizing wildlife conservation over profit, even though the new regulation could negatively impact New Zealand's economy.

As reported by The Telegraph, officials made the decision to prohibit humans swimming with the dolphins based on a New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) study. The study noted that in 1999, in the Bay of Islands area, which is located north of Auckland, the bottlenose dolphin population was about 270. Now, it's just 31, meaning it's decreased by nearly 90 percent over the past two decades, according to the NZ Herald. Additionally, there has been a 75 percent mortality rate among bottlenose dolphin calves in the region, which is the highest mortality rate in New Zealand — both in the country's waters and in captivity, according to The Guardian.