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Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...
Orcas at the seabed

The secrets of orca beach life

Rubbing on smooth pebbles is a generations-old cultural tradition for a particular group of orcas...

Little Whales in a Big Ocean

The beginning of the field season is always really exciting, as we see which whales are first to return, which mothers have calves this year, and hope that none of our beloved whales go missing!  We’ve already seen incredible feeding displays and have a growing list of mothers that are returning with their calves to teach them how to feed, socialize, and maneuver through the ocean.  What we didn’t expect to see was evidence that some of these calves have already narrowly escaped death in just their first few months of life. So far, three little ones have unfortunately already been seen with various wounds.

 

Apex’s calf is fairly large considering its age- a sign that Apex is a great mother and the calf is healthy.  However, when looking at its tail stock, there are scars from an entanglement in fishing line. 

 

Fern’s calf is an average size for a calf (this is Fern’s 9th calf) and has been seen on a few occasions with a fresh wound.  While it’s unclear what caused the injury, part of the dorsal fin has been cut open and is still in the process of healing.

 

Buckshot’s calf is luckiest of all to be alive.  This poor calf has a massive injury on the left side of its body, undoubtedly as a result of being struck by a vessel.  A number of concerns arise when a whale has an open wound of that size. First, like humans, whales can die from losing too much blood.  Given the location of the injury, it could have also impacted some of the major organs, causing damage internally.  While the wound is starting to heal, this calf is not out of the woods yet.  Whales have died due to chronic infection as a result of being struck by a ship.  This could take months or even years to eventually take its toll, and therefore have the potential to severely affect the welfare of the individual.

In addition to the pain which these calves have obviously felt, imagine how their mothers must feel.  Whales are sentient beings.  Calves rely on their mothers and stay with them for the first year of life.  The mother is responsible for protecting and preparing her young to survive on their own.  Whales communicate and sense their surroundings.  They frequently travel in pairs or groups and have social structures within their population.  In the cases of Apex, Fern, and Buckshot, each of these mothers were undoubtedly near her calf when it was injured and reacted similarly to the way we as humans would if our child was injured.

Negative human impacts on these populations need to cease so that all whales will stand a chance for survival.  Help us in the fight to protect these sentient beings by supporting our work through a donation, signing our petition to increase and expand protections for whales, and stay up to date on our work.