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Conservationists have issued repeated warnings that the Maui’s dolphins of New Zealand, the planet’s smallest species of dolphin, are in danger of

extinction. This month, they’ve estimated there are only about 55 surviving members left, according to an updated survey of the species’ population.

The last time the Maui’s dolphin population was surveyed in 2005. At that time, there were 111 of the species left, according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Experts say the population decline corresponds to a rise in commercial fishing.

“Every day the animals are exposed to gill and trawl nets carries a risk we can’t afford. If ever there was a time to act, it is now,” Dr. Barbara Maas, international head of the Nature and Biodiversity Union’s International Species Conservation division,” said in a statement. Read the full article at