Amazon River dolphin surfacing
Amazon River dolphin surfacing

How a gift in your Will helps whales and dolphins

Our vision is a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free. But these amazing, intelligent creatures face so many man-made dangers and leaving a gift in your Will can help us protect them.

River dolphins are seriously threatened by becoming accidentally trapped in fishing nets. They are also hunted and used for fish bait in parts of the Amazon. Fishermen also kill them in revenge for damaging fishing nets or to try and reduce, competition for fish catches. Thankfully, due to gifts left in Wills, we have been working to put a stop to this cruelty.

In 2013, WDC launched the WDC Bharathi Viswanathan Award for Innovative and Non-Invasive Research.  The objective of this award is to inspire and encourage researchers to use non-invasive methods to study whales and dolphins in their natural environment with the aim to benefit conservation management, welfare or protection of whales and dolphins. 

To date, this has been funded through gifts in Wills – inspiring scientists to protect whales and dolphins backed by evidence.

One winner, Sannie Brum focussed on fishery management and conservation of the Amazon River dolphin.  The aim is to work  with local people and  change negative attitudes towards river dolphins and offer alternatives to killing dolphins for bait or increasing fish catches.

Sannie’s work includes:

  • Assessing the numbers of dolphins who live in a selected 304 square kilometre research area: 651 river dolphins were counted, which is a good population.
  • Interviewing 70 fishermen from 39 different communities to get their thoughts on our project and to gauge the local attitudes to using dolphins as bait.
  • Recruiting two local fishermen to assist with the surveys, as well as passing on their knowledge of the area and helping us to gain essential community support.
  • Presenting the Brazilian Public Prosecution Service with 176,599 WDC supporter signatures along with messages of support for his work trying to end the brutal slaughter of Amazon River dolphins.

We won’t stop until every whale and dolphin is safe and free.  Free from captivity, free from being entangled in fishing nets, free from living toxic oceans, free from being hunted.  That is why gifts in Wills are so crucial to our work. They ensure that our work can continue for generations to come.

We hope you will think about leaving a gift to WDC in your Will.