Fighting for whale and dolphin protection is rarely as glamorous as it might sound. Much of it takes place in long meetings, where evidence is presented and decisions are made. Some of the most important events in a whale conservationist’s calendar are the various meetings of the International Whaling Commission, or IWC, the body that regulates whaling.
*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting*
They say a week is a long time in politics. Well it also feels a long time in whale conservation!
Elspeth Shears is a residential volunteer at the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre in Spey Bay. Our visitor centre is on the Moray Firth, north east Scotland, home to the most northerly population of bottlenose dolphins in the world.
Every year, people gather on cliff tops in the north of Scotland to watch out for orcas, some of whom come down from their winter herring-hunting grounds in Iceland on the look out for seals in the early Scottish summer. Run by the Sea Watch Foundation and supported by WDC, we call this event Orca Watch.
I was on an early morning beach dog walk on Monday, our first day back on the Isle of Lewis this year when I saw a fin slice out of the water in the quiet, still bay in front of our accommodation. I held my breath. Not just any fin, but a Risso’s dolphin!
Preparing a new home for two ex-captive belugas is a wonderful world first.
Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted on Reykjavik harbour will generally arouse little attention from passing tourists, but this is different and far more chilling. This is the Hvalur 8.
WDC is working closely with Thomas Cook, one of the UK’s biggest holiday companies, to help them to make informed decisions when it comes to whales and dolphins in tourism.
Life as a small whale or dolphin can be precarious at the best of times, but off the coast of Japan they face a sinister threat – the fishermen of Taiji. If they’re caught up in the maelstrom of one of the infamous ‘drive hunts’ the outcome is unlikely to be a good one.