Turret Road dolphins draw crowds

A pod of endangered bottlenose dolphins is slowing traffic on the Hairini Causeway this morning. Photo: Andrew Campbell

Two people on surf boards attempting to swim with the dolphin pod near the Turret Road bridge this morning have been intercepted by DOC rangers.

The pod the rangers estimate to be about 20 in number, were there at daybreak today. It is a rare visit by the endangered species.

“We have chased away a couple of people on surfboards so far this morning,” says Tracy Mezger at DOC Tauranga.

“These mammals are in confined waters at the moment. They have come into the harbour for a rest and a feed, and it’s not appropriate for people to interact with them.”

DOC staff are not concerned about the dolphins stranding. Low tide was at 9.20am, and the pool above the bridge has sufficient depth for the pod at all states of the tide.

“There are DOC staff monitoring the situation,” says Tracy. “It’s a very unusual visit.”

The pod is thought to be feeding on kahawai and mullet.

There are only about 450 bottlenose dolphins in New Zealand waters between the Bay of Islands and Whakatane, and are less common that Maui dolphins.

There are fewer than 1200 that range the New Zealand coastline altogether.

A SunLive reporter says mid-morning Welcome Bay traffic is backed up around Welcome Bay, and there are a lot of cars pulled up along the causeway. People driving across the causeway into town are slowing down for a look.

For the earlier story and video click here.


Turrent Road Hysteria

Posted on 12-05-2018 20:28 | By kinakat

I knew traffic was bad that morning,so decided to use the Maungatapu exit and then Oropi roundabout back into town. Travelling distance was further but only took twenty five minutes Awesome.

Sunlive updates please

Posted on 11-05-2018 16:51 | By Courts

I was watching this pod for hours earlier and had wondered if they had managed to get out, would appreciate and update.Cheers.


Posted on 11-05-2018 14:45 | By Taffy

It took me 40 minutes from Maungatapu School to the lights at Fraser Street 8.55am to 9.35am.No mention on the traffic report on ZB about these dolphins just traffic was heavy.That is what we get most week day mornings,in fact on the way back at 11am there still was no mention about the dolphins just the same traffic report. Traffic was still backed up to the roundabout. Pathetic!!!!

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