Singer fronts campaign to save Maui's

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2014
sam
Louise Hatton Photography

ACTIVIST: Phoenix Foundation vocalist Samuel Flynn Scott says he had been thinking about Maui's dolphins a lot so was happy to join the charge.

Maui
HELP NEEDED: Phoenix Foundation singer Samuel Flynn Scott believes Maui’s dolphin can be saved.

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A well-known Kiwi musician is lending his voice to help save a group of endangered New Zealanders who cannot speak for themselves.

Phoenix Foundation vocalist Samuel Flynn Scott is one of a group of 13 well-known New Zealanders and conservationists who are getting behind a campaign launched by global conservation organisation Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) to save the world's most endangered dolphin.

WWF launched The Last 55 campaign in a bid to save New Zealand's Maui's dolphins in May.

The organisation hopes to present political leaders with a petition with at least 55,000 signatures before September's election and already has 52,000 signatures.

As part of a final push to reach its target, WWF has enlisted the help of familiar faces to help spread the word through social media and poster campaign On Our Watch, which launches tomorrow.

Flynn Scott said he had been thinking about Maui's dolphins a lot so was happy to join the charge. "It's one of those stories that keeps coming up."

With only 55 dolphins left it seemed like a lost cause, Flynn Scott said. However, the more he read about the dolphins the more he realised there was still hope.

Flynn Scott said he often avoided fronting campaigns because he did not want to be involved with pushing a political agenda.

"It's not some competition between Left and Right . . . It's about making this issue important for everyone and letting New Zealanders know that we can save these dolphins if we try."

At the campaign launch earlier this year, WWF New Zealand executive director Chris Howe said the Maui's dolphin was on the brink of extinction, with only 55 adults left. The dolphins only existed on New Zealand's west coast and 95 per cent of deaths were due to fishing.

At the moment only half of the dolphin's habitat was protected from set-netting and trawling, Howe said. WWF was calling on the Government to put in place measures to protect the dolphin's entire habitat from Maunganui Bluff to the Whanganui River mouth from fishing practices known to kill them, he said.

If nothing was done the species would be extinct within the next 40 years, based on the rate of breeding.

Howe said the Government should provide fishers with support to help them transition to dolphin-friendly practices. "Fishing communities should not have to bear the cost of saving this precious dolphin alone."

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