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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...

Harbour porpoises on the move, or just especially elusive?

The past few months have been significant for rare sightings of some species of whales and dolphins (north Pacific right whales off the west coast of the US, a grey whale in Namibia – the first ever sighting of the species in the southern hemisphere, and common dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea) – now however it’s the turn of their smaller cousin, the harbour porpoise.

Researchers surveying in the northern Aegean Sea (which lies between Greece and Turkey – see map) have sighted what they believe to be the the first confirmed sightings of live harbour porpoises in Aegean waters since 1997.

Thought to be extinct in the Mediterranean since the 19th century, there have only been two live sightings of this species in the area (one group in 1993 and one lone individual in 1997) and further documentation of several dead stranded animals on Greek and Turkish coasts each year. The researchers were treated to sightings of four groups of porpoises – and perhaps many more recored on their underwater acoustic equipment – a first for Turkish Aegean waters and the first in over 16 years in the Mediterranean.

There is some speculation that these animals are actually part of the endangered and genetically distinct sub-species of Black Sea harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena relicta) and have travelled to the Aegean from the Black Sea. However, there is still the possibility that a Mediterranean sub-population exists. 

If one thing is for sure, whales, dolphins and porpoises continue to surprise us!

About Nicola Hodgins

Policy Manager at WDC