Why does the Whale & Dolphin Adoption Project exist?
We exist to stimulate interest in New Zealand's marine mammals and
raise much needed funding for researchers, education and
conservation. Only when we truly understand cetaceans, will we be in
a position to protect them after years of human interference.
What do we intend to do?
We intend to raise funds to contribute to research on marine mammals;
create awareness and a sense of protection towards marine mammals;
promote marine environment conservation.
How do we intend to do it?
Develop the adoption programme to its full potential and to the best of
our ability; develop and circulate educational information on marine
mammals creating public awareness and responsibility; and continue
to build alliances and partnerships with other organisations to
strengthen our common goals.
What are we committed to?
We are committed to the on-going research, education and
preservation of marine mammals and the aquatic environment in
which they live.
Who do we serve?
Our market is multifaceted, it includes people throughout
the South Pacific who share an interest
in the marine environment, people who are
currently working to preserve the aquatic
environment and people who don't yet know that
the environment needs our help. We also serve the
marine environment itself and all of its inhabitants.
This inaugural group of researchers have joined us in
establishing the foundations for a successful venture to
benefit the marine mammals they are studying, and all
cetaceans in the South Pacific.
Half-tail - Mike Donoghue
As part of the South Pacific Humpback Whale Project team,
Mike and the scientists catalogue and study the Tongan
humpback population through photo-ID of the tail flukes,
DNA analysis and whale song. The project's goals are
extensive, but include estimating the current abundance of
humpback whales in Tongan waters and evaluating the
evidence for population recovery.
Casper - Nathalie Patenaude
As part of her PhD thesis, Nathalie is researching the
southern right whale population in the Auckland Islands.
Whaling saw the species on the verge of extinction - and
despite the fact that the numbers of right whales have
increased in some regions of the Southern Ocean no such
recovery has been apparent about New Zealand. Nathalie's
research is specifically aimed at determining the population
size and genetic status of New Zealand southern right
Nosey - Kirsty Russell
Kirsty is completing her thesis on the distribution and
abundance of Hector's dolphins populating the West Coast of
the North Island. Because the majority of the Hector's
dolphin population is found in the South Island, little is
known about the animals populating the West Coast. Kirsty's
valuable research aims to uncover more information about
these extremely rare marine mammals.
Bad Jelly - Rochelle Constantine
PhD student, Rochelle Constantine is studying bottlenose
dolphins around the Bay of Islands. Due to the expanding
eco-tourism market in the North, Rochelle is concentrating
on finding out about the effects of tourism on the Northland
bottlenose population. She is also a recipient of the
International Society for Marine Mammalogy, Emily B. Shane
Award - for innovative, non-invasive research.
Tinkerbell - Dirk Neumann
As a PhD candidate, Dirk is devoting his time to the on-going
study of common dolphins around the Coromandel
Peninsula. Although common dolphins are regularly
sighted, little is known about society and relationships
among pod members. Dirk aims to gain insights into the
dolphins' behavioural ecology, distribution and seasonal
movements. Another aspect to Dirk's research is learning
about the influence that eco-tourism has on the dolphins
Xena - Tim Markowitz & April Harlin
Tim and April are continuing research begun by Dr. Bernd Wursig
in the 1980's which entails the comparison of the lifestyles of
dusky dolphins in NZ with those found in South American
waters; examining the effects of tourism on dolphin
movements, distribution, and behaviour; and studying the
dolphins' vocalizations. The PhD candidates are examining
the population structure and social organisation of NZ dusky
dolphins by photo-ID, DNA analysis, video footage and
detailed observations of pod behaviour.
Elephant Ears - Barbara Todd
Barbara has conducted extensive photo-ID research on New
Zealand sperm whales off Kaikoura on the East Coast of the
South Island. Also as part of Project Tohora, she has studied
southern right whales in the Campbell Islands. Barbara is
currently producing an invaluable educational resource on
whales and dolphins for primary schools. Funding helps to
ensure the delivery of the resource is free to primary schools
within New Zealand.
We would like to thank everyone who has provided us with
unfathomable support and encouragement over the two years it has taken
to establish The Whale & Dolphin Adoption Project. A very
special thanks is extended to:
- Lionel Joyce
- Jason and the team at Shore Graphics
- Nicholson Printing
- Project Jonah
- Department of Conservation
- Jo Berghan
- Jo Ritchie
- Fiona Powell (Her Business magazine)
- Graham Brothers