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Kiska the orca

Real stories from the dark side of captivity

Since we launched our campaign, we've been talking a lot about what a dark place...
Theo's rubbish collection

WDC Dolphin Defender Theo awarded BBC Climate Champion Award

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
End captivity background

Uncovering the dark side of captivity

Last week we launched our major new campaign to reveal and uncover the dark side...
Bottlenose dolphins © Christopher Swann

On the anniversary of the massacre of 1,423 dolphins, what’s changed?

One year ago today, 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, including mothers with calves and pregnant females,...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
A dolphin plays in front of the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay

Sharing our Spey Bay stories – tell us yours

2022 is Scotland's Year of Stories, a year in which stories inspired by, created or...
Orcas in Australia

Did orcas help rescue entangled humpback whale?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
An orca named 'Hulk' off Caithness, Scotland

My amazing week watching orcas in Scotland

Orca Watch's 10th anniversary event in the far north of Scotland was exhilarating with a...

Risso’s dolphins spotted off Bardsey Island in the UK

Imagine kayaking across a flat calm, almost mirror like ocean, on a balmy sunny day, only to have your path crossed by a small pod of Risso’s dolphins!

Well, this is exactly what happened to Justine Curgenven as she paddled from Morfa Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales, to Bardsey Island. Not long after she had set out a number of Risso’s dolphins, including a juvenile, crossed in front, and underneath, her kayak!

Julie said of her encounter “Setting off from Morfa Nefyn at a good pace on a flat blue sea, I vaguely noticed a wave gently breaking to one side of me — until something made me look closer. I noticed a gigantic fin protrude from the water – followed by another one, and then a third. It was a pod of at least 5 Risso’s dolphins – the first ones I’ve seen. They came quite close and took a good look at me”.

She also managed to catch this amazing footage of the Risso’s dolphins as they passed by.

Take a look at Julie’s blog on her website to read all about her encounter.

Risso’s dolphins are in some ways an unusual species that has not been well studied, mainly due to their preference for deep, oceanic waters but research is now underway, including the research that WDC has been undertaking in the waters around Bardsey Island for 13 years, from both the Island itself and the Lleyn Peninsula.

The on-going study has yielded sightings of large groups of Risso’s dolphins off the north end of the island and sightings, especially of mother/calf nursery groups, indicate the potential importance of the area for this species, however gaps still remain in our understanding of their distribution, abundance and habitat use. Read all about the research conducted around Bardsey Island.

About Vicki James

Policy officer - Stop Whaling