Boating NZ : FREE TO READ March 2014
muscles. They achieve this by carrying huge quantities of blood, roughly double the amount of blood per kilogram of body mass than humans. Without gas in their lungs they avoid the seal equivalent of decompression sickness. Their large spleens allow them to store vast quantities of red blood cells, which are released into their blood stream upon diving – giving them a boost of stored oxygen as they submerge. Their range is throughout the Southern Ocean, but in winter they frequently visit the Auckland, Antipodes and Snares Islands, less often the Chatham Islands and occasionally various mainland locations, from Stewart Island to the Bay of Islands. Elephant seals feed on animals such as squid, cuttlefish and large fish, including sharks. Elephant seals were almost driven to extinction by hunters seeking their blubber for oil, but their population density became so low that hunting was no longer economically viable. Following protective legislation, the population boomed, thanks to an abundance of resources that had accumulated from previous low populations. Populations are returning to pre-sealing levels, and as at 2005 it was estimated between at 664,000 and 740,000 worldwide. The subspecies found in New Zealand and Australian waters has only 75,000 individuals. Their biggest threat is harassment when hauled out on land, particularly when moulting, from humans and dogs, because they are unable to flee to the sea as they are extremely vulnerable to cold at this time. HEY, KIDS The Last of the Maui’s Dolphins by Maria Gill and Bruce Potter. New Holland Publishers, 32 pages, $19.99 A pod of Maui’s dolphins warns its youngest member, Hiriwa, to stay away from the dark shapes; ie, fishing boats as those who get caught never come back. Inevitably, Hiriwa has his brush with danger but luckily this is a kids’ book and it has a happy ending. However, the message is that Maui’s dolphins are heading for extinction and this book is the authors’ contribution to urging the government to legislate further to protect them. The book includes two pages of factual information on the dolphins and their plight, and that of their cousins, the Hector’s dolphin. These dolphins with the distinctive, Mickey Mouse ear- shaped dorsal fin, are the rarest marine dolphin in the world. There are fewer than 55 Maui’s dolphins left. With full colour illustrations and other maritime friends such as Squiggles the octopus, this book is suitable for ages four to seven years. Boating New Zealand has two copies of a great dolphin story to give away. Just answer this question: The Maui’s dolphin has a fin shaped like: a) Mickey Mouse’s ear b) The Terminator’s toe c) Donald Duck’s beak Send your answer with your name and postal address to email@example.com Photo:Worldswildlifewonders/Shutterstock.com subscribe online at www.mags4gifts.co.nz/boating-nz 73 subscribe online at www.mags4gifts.co.nz/boating-nz 73 Feature_bens conservation_March14.indd 73 18/02/2014 2:07:36 p.m.
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