Hector's Dolphin

Hector's Dolphin, also called the White Headed Dolphin, are found exclusively in New Zealand. This particular dolphin is the rarest of all dolphins in the world. The Hector's Dolphin derived this name from Sir James Hector, a scientist who was the first person to ever examine this dolphin species.

Hector's Dolphins are one of the smallest dolphins in the world. As adults the Hector's Dolphin has a length of 1.4 meters and weigh in at only 50 kilograms. Their bodies are solid, with a distinctive rounded dorsal fin. This dolphin doesn't have a typical long beak, rather they have a gently sloping snout. The bellies of the Hector's Dolphin is white, while the rest of their bodies are grey in color, except for the crescent shaped black mark that runs between thir eyes and blowhole.

Hector Dolphins swim in pods of up to 5 dolphins in a single pod. The pods stay isolated from one another and are believed to stay within 60km of the same New Zealand Coast area at all times throughout their lives. Pods are found east, west and south of the Islands Coastal waters. The diet of the Hector's Dolphin consists of bottom dwelling fish such as Stargazers and Red Cod, along with mid-water fish like Haki and Hake.

During the months of October to March the Hector's Dolphin swim close to the shore, just beyond the surf and inside harbors. Female Hector's Dolphins reach their sexual maturity around the age of 8 years old. They will give birth to one calf every 2-3 years between the months of September and February, after a gestation period of one year. Calves are between 50-60cm in length when born and will remain with their mothers for one year, or until they are able to fend for themselves. The life span of the Hector's Dolphin is between 15-18 years of age.

The Hector's Dolphin was classified as an endangered species, by the Department of Conservation, in 1999. Currently there are only 7,381 Hector's Dolphin in existance. Threats against the Hector's Dolphin include drowning in nets and trawlers used by fisherman, along with boating injuries. Pollution is also a threat against this endangered species.