Found only in New Zealand waters, Hector’s dolphins are the smallest and rarest dolphins in the world and only live to around 23 years old. The surviving population is estimated at only a few thousand, and they live in small coastal pods that seldom meet or breed with each other. This makes population recovery near impossible if a group suffers even a small decline.
Porpoise Bay (the swimming beach alongside Curio Bay) is a nursery area, and the local pod numbers forty to fifty including calves. Mothers only give birth 2-3 times in their lifetime, usually between November and February. This is also when Porpoise Bay is busiest with visitors, so it’s important they are left in peace to breed, eat, rest and feed their young.
Image by Ros Cole, DOC