New Zealand's Department of Conservation has issued a ban on tourists swimming with dolphins in the Bay of Islands, saying that human interaction is bad for the marine mammals.
Specifically, the statement says, “Research shows interaction with bottlenose dolphins is having a significant impact on the population’s resting and feeding behavior,” and that people are “loving the dolphins too much.” Dolphin population in the area has dropped to only 19 and calves have a 75% mortality rate, the highest in New Zealand.
Commercial operators who take visitors to the area have been given limited time schedules to avoid interfering with nursing and feeding, and to give the dolphins some 'alone time.' Each visit will be limited to twenty minutes.
Dolphins in Hectors Bay, New Zealand (Avenue/Wikimedia)