If swimming with dolphins off the coast of New Zealand was on your travel bucket list then it might be time for a rethink as New Zealand authorities have discovered that human interaction can negatively impact on the lives of the aquatic mammals.
The New Zealand department of Conservation has banned tourists from swimming with bottlenose dolphins off the North Island’s Bay of Islands. Tour operators have also had operations restricted.
The ban only applies to bottlenose dolphins in this particular region. Tourists can still swim with dusky or common dolphins in New Zealand.
The new rule was implemented to counteract plummeting numbers of dolphins, which have decreased by 66 per cent since 1990, according to authorities.
In 1999, there was an estimated 270 of the creatures residing in the area. Today, the figure is estimated at 31.
Tour operators have also been told to reduce interaction time with the creatures. From today, they can only provide 20-minute interactions with the dolphins, reduced from the previous 30-minute limit. All tours will also be allocated morning or afternoon slots to ensure the dolphins have human-free periods every day.