The Maui dolphin is the world's rarest dolphin, and if we don't act now to save it, it will soon be wiped out form the face of the Earth. “We are down to the last 55 dolphins, so we are calling on our political leaders to let them know it’s time to take action to save these precious animals,” said New Zealand Executive Director Chris Howe. “At the rate we are going the only place future generations will be able to see Maui’s is in museums.”
Only found off the cost of New Zealand, the Maui dolphin is primarily threatened by gillnets and trawlers. They get caught in the nets and drown (remember, dolphins are mammals, they can't breathe underwater). Scientists estimate the 95% of unnatural Maui deaths are caused by fishing.
There's a net ban, but it doesn't cover the whole range where credible Maui sightings have been made, so if the dolphins move into the unprotected area, they can be caught despite the rest of their habitat being relatively more protected (the net ban isn't perfect, I'm sure).
Notice on the map above the blue area is the Maui dolphin's range, and the red area is where there's a net ban.
The WWF is calling for the government of New Zealand to expand the ban area to cover the Maui’s entire range. “Support should also be provided to fishers to help them transition to dolphin-friendly practices. Fishing communities should not have to bear the cost of saving this precious dolphin alone,” writes WWF.
If you want to do your part, check out the Last 55 campaign by WWF.