Human activities are destroying the natural world, leading to the extinction of animal and plant species at a terrifying rate.

Our actions threaten over one million species. And in New Zealand we have the highest proportion of threatened native species in the world, with more than 4000 at risk.

Some experts believe we are in the throes of the sixth mass extinction. In This Is How It Ends, a seven-part Stuff documentary series, Andrea Vance and Iain McGregor investigate the biodiversity crisis.

Māui dolphin and New Zealand sea lion are on a countdown to extinction - so why do politicians drag their feet?

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WATCH EPISODE THREE:
OCEANS

Hit play on the video to understand why NZ is struggling to stop the extinction of rare marine mammals.

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Both Hector’s (pictured) and Māui dolphins are classified as threatened species, which have the greatest risk of extinction.

Both Hector’s (pictured) and Māui dolphins are classified as threatened species, which have the greatest risk of extinction.

A recent survey estimated only 54 Māui remain. Researchers attempt to collect samples using a veterinary rifle.

A recent survey estimated only 54 Māui remain. Researchers attempt to collect samples using a veterinary rifle.

Hector’s dolphins swim in Lyttelton harbour, Canterbury.

Hector’s dolphins swim in Lyttelton harbour, Canterbury.

Hector's and Māui have been in serious decline for almost half a century — their biggest human threats are fishing nets.

Hector's and Māui have been in serious decline for almost half a century — their biggest human threats are fishing nets.

Item 1 of 4

Both Hector’s (pictured) and Māui dolphins are classified as threatened species, which have the greatest risk of extinction.

Both Hector’s (pictured) and Māui dolphins are classified as threatened species, which have the greatest risk of extinction.

A recent survey estimated only 54 Māui remain. Researchers attempt to collect samples using a veterinary rifle.

A recent survey estimated only 54 Māui remain. Researchers attempt to collect samples using a veterinary rifle.

Hector’s dolphins swim in Lyttelton harbour, Canterbury.

Hector’s dolphins swim in Lyttelton harbour, Canterbury.

Hector's and Māui have been in serious decline for almost half a century — their biggest human threats are fishing nets.

Hector's and Māui have been in serious decline for almost half a century — their biggest human threats are fishing nets.

Both Hector’s (pictured) and Māui dolphins are classified as threatened species, which have the greatest risk of extinction.

Both Hector’s (pictured) and Māui dolphins are classified as threatened species, which have the greatest risk of extinction.

A recent survey estimated only 54 Māui remain. Researchers attempt to collect samples using a veterinary rifle.

A recent survey estimated only 54 Māui remain. Researchers attempt to collect samples using a veterinary rifle.

Hector's and Māui have been in serious decline for almost half a century — their biggest human threats are fishing nets.

Hector's and Māui have been in serious decline for almost half a century — their biggest human threats are fishing nets.

Hector’s dolphins swim in Lyttelton harbour, Canterbury.

Hector’s dolphins swim in Lyttelton harbour, Canterbury.

Item 1 of 4

Both Hector’s (pictured) and Māui dolphins are classified as threatened species, which have the greatest risk of extinction.

Both Hector’s (pictured) and Māui dolphins are classified as threatened species, which have the greatest risk of extinction.

A recent survey estimated only 54 Māui remain. Researchers attempt to collect samples using a veterinary rifle.

A recent survey estimated only 54 Māui remain. Researchers attempt to collect samples using a veterinary rifle.

Hector's and Māui have been in serious decline for almost half a century — their biggest human threats are fishing nets.

Hector's and Māui have been in serious decline for almost half a century — their biggest human threats are fishing nets.

Hector’s dolphins swim in Lyttelton harbour, Canterbury.

Hector’s dolphins swim in Lyttelton harbour, Canterbury.

The Government and the population of New Zealand need to decide whether they want cheap fish and chips from the west coast of the North Island, or Maui's dolphin, because you can't have both.
Steve Dawson, Whale and Dolphin Trust

Sea lion bulls duel on Enderby Island, in the Auckland Islands group.

Sea lion bulls duel on Enderby Island, in the Auckland Islands group.

A sea lion and a skua at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island.

A sea lion and a skua at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island.

New Zealand doesn't have a threatened species act, to protect creatures like the sea lion.

New Zealand doesn't have a threatened species act, to protect creatures like the sea lion.

Campbell Island/Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve protects only per cent of the territorial sea around the island group.

Campbell Island/Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve protects only per cent of the territorial sea around the island group.

A third of New Zealand's land mass is protected in parks and reserves, but marine reserves cover just 0.48 percent of oceans.

A third of New Zealand's land mass is protected in parks and reserves, but marine reserves cover just 0.48 percent of oceans.

New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world, with a population of about 12,000.

New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world, with a population of about 12,000.

If the decline continues, New Zealand sea lions are likely to become extinct within our lifetime.

If the decline continues, New Zealand sea lions are likely to become extinct within our lifetime.

Item 1 of 7

Sea lion bulls duel on Enderby Island, in the Auckland Islands group.

Sea lion bulls duel on Enderby Island, in the Auckland Islands group.

A sea lion and a skua at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island.

A sea lion and a skua at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island.

New Zealand doesn't have a threatened species act, to protect creatures like the sea lion.

New Zealand doesn't have a threatened species act, to protect creatures like the sea lion.

Campbell Island/Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve protects only per cent of the territorial sea around the island group.

Campbell Island/Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve protects only per cent of the territorial sea around the island group.

A third of New Zealand's land mass is protected in parks and reserves, but marine reserves cover just 0.48 percent of oceans.

A third of New Zealand's land mass is protected in parks and reserves, but marine reserves cover just 0.48 percent of oceans.

New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world, with a population of about 12,000.

New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world, with a population of about 12,000.

If the decline continues, New Zealand sea lions are likely to become extinct within our lifetime.

If the decline continues, New Zealand sea lions are likely to become extinct within our lifetime.

Sea lion bulls duel on Enderby Island, in the Auckland Islands group.

Sea lion bulls duel on Enderby Island, in the Auckland Islands group.

New Zealand doesn't have a threatened species act, to protect creatures like the sea lion.

New Zealand doesn't have a threatened species act, to protect creatures like the sea lion.

Campbell Island/Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve protects only per cent of the territorial sea around the island group.

Campbell Island/Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve protects only per cent of the territorial sea around the island group.

A sea lion and a skua at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island.

A sea lion and a skua at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island.

A third of New Zealand's land mass is protected in parks and reserves, but marine reserves cover just 0.48 percent of oceans.

A third of New Zealand's land mass is protected in parks and reserves, but marine reserves cover just 0.48 percent of oceans.

New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world, with a population of about 12,000.

New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world, with a population of about 12,000.

If the decline continues, New Zealand sea lions are likely to become extinct within our lifetime.

If the decline continues, New Zealand sea lions are likely to become extinct within our lifetime.

Item 1 of 7

Sea lion bulls duel on Enderby Island, in the Auckland Islands group.

Sea lion bulls duel on Enderby Island, in the Auckland Islands group.

New Zealand doesn't have a threatened species act, to protect creatures like the sea lion.

New Zealand doesn't have a threatened species act, to protect creatures like the sea lion.

Campbell Island/Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve protects only per cent of the territorial sea around the island group.

Campbell Island/Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve protects only per cent of the territorial sea around the island group.

A sea lion and a skua at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island.

A sea lion and a skua at Sandy Bay, Enderby Island.

A third of New Zealand's land mass is protected in parks and reserves, but marine reserves cover just 0.48 percent of oceans.

A third of New Zealand's land mass is protected in parks and reserves, but marine reserves cover just 0.48 percent of oceans.

New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world, with a population of about 12,000.

New Zealand sea lions are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world, with a population of about 12,000.

If the decline continues, New Zealand sea lions are likely to become extinct within our lifetime.

If the decline continues, New Zealand sea lions are likely to become extinct within our lifetime.

OTHER EPISODES

Episode 1

Seabirds

Watch
now

Episode 2

Native Birds

Watch
now

Episode 4

All creatures great and small

Available
Oct 22
Watch
now

Episode 5

Fresh Water

Available
Oct 26
Watch
now

Episode 6

The Endangered Forest

Available
Oct 27
Watch
now

Episode 7

The Islands

Available
Oct 28
Watch
now
Written, filmed, produced and directed by Andrea Vance and Iain McGregor
With extra special thanks to Herb Christophers, Department of Conservation and Black Cat Cruises
With thanks to Livia Esterhazy, WWF-NZ; Steve Dawson and Liz Slooten, Whale and Dolphin Trust; Ian Angus, Department of Conservation; Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, Te Tira Whakamātaki; Bruce Robertson, University of Otago; Siana Fitzjohn; Nick Young, Greenpeace NZ; Phil Johnson, Toby Longbottom and Paula Penfold, Stuff Circuit
Additional footage supplied by Robert Kitchin, Stuff; Black Cat Cruises; Richie Robinson, Department of Conservation; Whale and Dolphin Trust; Greenpeace NZ; Ministry for Primary Industries, Defence Force; NIWA; Seafood NZ; Chris Carter; Scott Stringer
San Discovery filmed bottom trawling on Puysegur Bank, 18/09/21
Title animation Ella Bates-Hermans
Design and layout Aaron Wood and Sungmi Kim
Development Sungmi Kim
Editor John Hartevelt
Executive editor and producer Bernadette Courtney
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