Supporting dolphins is a snap

PICTURE THIS: Dove Joans and Tony Barry drum up support for the Maui dolphin visual petition at the Dendy. Photo: DIGBY HILDRETH
PICTURE THIS: Dove Joans and Tony Barry drum up support for the Maui dolphin visual petition at the Dendy. Photo: DIGBY HILDRETH

PEOPLE across the Byron Shire rallied this week to support a campaign to protect an endangered dolphin species in New Zealand.

Campaigner Dove Joans took the story of the threatened Maui dolphin around town to drum up support for a 500-strong "visual petition" of people holding photos of the dolphin.

Within 48 hours, she had photographs of 711 people.

Dove hopes the campaign will be part of a powerful message to the New Zealand government to encourage it to step in and protect the last 55 Mauis and the critically endangered Hector's dolphins from becoming extinct due to the use of set nets by fishermen.

Dove encouraged people to come to one of several "photo stations" around Byron so she could take a snapshot of them, their family and friends with images of the threatened cetacean - the smallest of the species.

Her mission took her to the Conscious Cafe, the Dendy Cinema, the Rails, the Brewery, the Pighouse Flicks, Cape Byron Steiner School, the Byron Community Centre and the Sunday markets.

Actor Tony Barry was on hand to pull in petitioners, and Ric O'Barry, Flipper's trainer and star of The Cove, added this endorsement:

"To lose the Maui dolphin would be a great tragedy because it can so easily be avoided.

"This is a golden opportunity for the New Zealand government to take affirmative action and save this species from permanent extinction.

"Let us make sure this does not come to pass."

The photographs were sent to the NZ Prime Minister on Monday as part of a campaign called Let's Face It.

"New Zealand isn't promoting or keeping up its 'green and pure' tourist image if it lets the remaining 55 Maui dolphins become extinct," Dove said.

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