Published on February 12th, 2015 | by pacificmedia0
Maui’s dolphin smart phone app launched
Wellington, 10 February 2015 – Efforts to save Maui’s dolphins from extinction have received a high-tech boost with the launch of a new smart phone app.
WWF-New Zealand has teamed up with Alphero to launch a mobile app making it easier for boaties, surfers and beach goers to report sightings of the world’s smallest and rarest marine dolphin while on the go.
“We are down to the last 55 Maui’s dolphins, so every sighting is valuable in building up a picture of where the animals are found and their behaviour,” says WWF-New Zealand’s Marine Species Advocate Milena Palka. “Maui’s dolphins live only off the west coast of the North Island, yet less than half of their habitat is protected. The more we know about where they swim the better we can protect them.”
The app will allow users to easily report sightings, including time, date and location using GPS coordinates. This information is collected by WWF, and the report is verified by an independent dolphin expert. WWF shares the data with the Department of Conservation, government and scientists to advocate for full protection for Maui’s dolphins throughout their entire range.
Alphero designed and developed the app for WWF pro-bono. Caroline Dewe, Director, Alphero said: “The team at WWF won the hearts of our designers, who begged us to do the project when they discovered an infant Maui’s dolphin is the size of a rugby ball. How could we resist? The team had fun creating a beautiful app that we hope will contribute towards protecting this amazing species.”
Maui’s dolphins are the genetically distinct North Island relative of Hector’s dolphins. Both are threatened with extinction; fishing with nets is the main cause of death. Internationally, scientists identify Maui’s dolphin habitat as ranging from Dargaville in Northland to the Whanganui river mouth, out to waters 100 metres deep, and have recommended the government take urgent action to fully protect this area from set net and trawl fishing.*
“Summer is the best time to see Maui’s dolphins, as they travel closer to shore to feed and ‘surf’ in the waves,” says Milena Palka, who is encouraging coast-loving Kiwis to download the app this summer.
“What could be even better than sighting a pod of critically endangered Maui’s dolphins playing alongside your boat or surfing the waves with you? Sharing that experience to help save these treasured dolphins or taonga from extinction.”
*International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee Reports, 2013 & 2014
- WWF has run a Maui’s Dolphin public sightings hotline (0800 4 MAUIS) since 2003
- WWF is campaigning to get fishing nets out of the water wherever Maui’s dolphins swim, and is calling on the government to work with the fishing community to transition to dolphin-safe alternatives. Seismic surveying also poses a significant risk to Maui’s, and WWF is calling on a moratorium on this risky activity.
- The ‘Maui’s dolphin’ app is available for free download from the iTunes App Store (for iPhones) and Google Play (for android phones).
Images of screengrabs and video content available on request.
Rosa Argent, WWF-New Zealand Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 027 212 3103 or 04 471 4292
Caroline Dewe, Alphero, Director, email@example.com, 021 682 609
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
Alphero delivers beautiful mobile and digital experiences that transform the way businesses engage with their customers on mobile, tablet and desktop. Alphero is New Zealand’s largest specialist mobile solutions company.