New Zealand has a diverse range of marine mammal species and subspecies, including whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions. Marine mammals are indicator species for the state of our marine environment. The conservation status of a species relates to its risk of extinction.
Many of these species are endemic (only found in) to New Zealand. They are apex species (near the top of the food chain) and can thrive only if their ecosystems are healthy. A decreasing population can indicate that the ecosystem is degrading. Marine mammals played an important part in New Zealand history; in the past whales and seals were hunted in great numbers. Now we have a rapidly-growing whale- and dolphin-watching industry.
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Imported on Oct. 19, 2016