A cruise company has reported its first confirmed sighting of an endangered Hector's dolphin in the Akaroa Harbour this season.
Hector's dolphins, sighted in Akaroa Harbour
Source: Black Cat Cruises
Images taken aboard a Black Cat Cruises vessel show a young calf, estimated to be barely a week old, swimming with its mother yesterday.
The dolphins are among the smallest in the world, and their distinctive markings and fin shapes make them easy to distinguish.
Hector's dolphins are highly endangered, as they have a slow reproductive rate and are often ensnared in fishing nets.
Until August this year, it was assumed by scientists that there were fewer than about 7000 of the dolphins, but new research indicated there are probably about twice that many.