News and blogs

News

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial whale hunting at the next meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the global body that regulates whale hunts) as, according to Japanese government representatives, some whale populations have become large enough to justify the killing.

Iceland flouts international ban to slaughter first protected fin whale of new hunting season

Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf has slaughtered an endangered fin whale today in defiance of the international ban on commercial whaling.

The hunt is Iceland’s first in three years and marks the start of a whaling season that could see as many as 238 of these majestic creatures killed.

A 67ft fin whale – landed overnight at the whaling station in Hvalfjörður, Iceland – became the first kill of the new season.

Study reveals how smart dolphins get more snacks

The importance of considering whales and dolphins as individuals, each with their own personalities, experiences and strategies has been highlighted by a study of interactions between dolphins and fishermen off the beaches of Laguna, in Brazil published in the journal Animal Behaviour. At various locations in Laguna, between 10 to 20 dolphins will herd fish to where the men wait in a line with their nets. The reward – fish!

Belugas may have changed eating habits to survive

According to a study by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers, beluga whales in Alaska’s Cook Inlet may have changed their diet over five decades from saltwater prey to freshwater fish and crustaceans in a bid to survive.

Information gained from the analysis beluga bone and teeth has shown that the belugas formerly fed on prey that had little contact with freshwater, but that has changed as the belugas have sought food in areas where river water flows into the ocean.

Rare white orca returns

Colleagues from the Far East Russian Orca Project (FEROP) have encountered one of the rare white orcas off the Commander Islands, about 100 miles off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. The orca, known as Mama Tanya, was last seen in 2010. 

Wild orcas to be captured in Russia again

Reports from Russia have emerged detailing a decision by fisheries authorises that orcas will once again be targeted for capture for sale to aquariums.

A quota to capture up to 13 orcas from the Okhotsk Sea this summer has just been made public and comes despite strong objection from scientists and others within Russia.

At least 20 orcas have been captured from the Okhotsk Sea since 2012 even though uncertainty around population numbers remains, and a recommendation by Russian scientists that no orcas should be taken from this wild population.

Blogs

Godzilla is not whale food

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.

50 shades of grey – watching orcas in Scotland

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.

WDC helping to shape the future for UK dolphins and porpoises

Last week, WDC took part in a two day workshop to help shape a “UK Dolphin and Porpoise Conservation Strategy”. We hope the strategy, once finalised will help to protect these species from bycatch, disturbance, pollution, noise and other pressures, individually as well as collectively.

Insights on life as a volunteer at the Scottish Dolphin Centre

WDC’s Scottish Dolphin Centre relies on its volunteers to keep it running. Jack Farge is one of our brilliant residential volunteers, and in his guest blog he talks about his experience so far, and why you really should come and visit! (The views and opinions expressed by our guest bloggers are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of WDC. )