Fifty-five Maui’s dolphins remain – the entire representative of a beautiful species that man has nearly wiped off the face of the Earth. There is little doubt that man has precipitated this run to extinction. The fishing methods in the Maui’s home range appear to be responsible for having nearly eradicated this small and elegant dolphin.
Little doubt, also, that man is “being a brat” about saving these 55 individuals and a species.
Brat: You know the look. Red-faced, heels dug in, fists clenched, stompy. “No, I won’t, and you can’t make me.” Looking for any and every excuse to avoid the conclusion that in the Maui’s home-range, stopping the use of fishing methods historically used in the area, and designing fishing practices that avoid impacts to the Maui, is the single-best measure.
The latest excuse run up the flagpole, even without the agreement of the scientist who conducted the study, is cats. In typical irresponsible behavior, a headline in the New Zealand Herald proclaims, Cat new suspect in dolphin deaths. Without, apparently, checking to find that this “suspect” – toxoplasma – appears widely widely widely distributed in the human population as well, without any symptoms whatsoever, they publish this rather catchy, if misleading, conclusion.
In contrast, scientific research on toxoplasmosis concludes that “Up to 80% of the population may be infected, depending on eating habits and exposure to cats.” So while, cats have been linked to toxoplasmosis in humans, that is a far leap over logic to suggest that toxoplasmosis is killing the Maui’s. In fact Dr.Wendi Roe, the marine mammal pathologist who conducted the Maui-toxoplas research concluded, in contrast with reporter Geoff Cumming, that “It’s really hard sometimes to work out what they died of but toxoplasma does seem to pop up more than we were suspecting.” Popping up is a far cry from linking, as the headline does, cats with dolphin deaths.
Buried as the news story’s last line is the truth, the news, the way to save the Maui’s dolphin, “A scientific panel estimated fishing was to blame for 95.5 per cent of human-induced mortalities and calculated the mortality rate from disease at less than 1 per cent.”
Please speak up and save them. Don’t let brats or catchy news article titles seal the fate of the beautiful Maui’s dolphin. Join the Let’s Face It Campaign, and send in your “Visual Petition” by mid-November.
Here’s a catchy title for Mr. Cumming’s next article, “No link demonstrated between the “popping” and the pooping.”