“If you actually want to eradicate the Maui‘s dolphins, this would be the way to do it.”

This is the view of associate professor Liz Slooten of the University of Otago‘s zoology department.

Dr Slooten has spoken out against a decision to allow oil exploration inside the West Coast Marine Mammal Sanctuary, home to critically endangered Maui’s dolphins.

But Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges disagreed exploration in the area would be the end of the dolphins.

Dr Slooten has been studying Maui’s dolphins since 1984 and in that time has watched the population dwindle from about 2000 to 55.