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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...

Faroes dolphin hunt review – disappointing is an understatement

I wasn't alone in hoping that substantial changes would be made as a result of...
Minke whale - V Mignon

We told them this would happen! Time to halt cruel whale experiments

An ill-conceived and so far ill-fated joint US/ Norwegian experiment to test minke whales' reaction...

Canaries of the Sea

Beluga whales are known as the “canaries of the sea,” a nickname granted by the high-frequency, sometimes bird-like squawks, chirps, whistles, and trills they make.  Researchers have descriptions of beluga sounds ranging from “rusty gate hinges” to children shouting.  Belugas can change the shape of their melon (the organ used for echolocation) by moving air around in their sinuses, which helps them produce their vast repertoire of sounds.  They start vocalizing within hours of being born and are among the most verbal of all whales, using sound for echolocation, hunting, mating, and communication.

 

In captivity, the high-frequency chirps, whistles, and other sounds made by belugas bounce off the concrete walls of their tanks, and the noise of living on land can cause hearing problems in many captive individuals.  The click-trains of echolocation often fall silent in captive whales, their tanks being nothing but an empty hall of echoes.  Echolocation is no longer needed to find food or pilot through estuaries and river mouths.  In captivity, belugas are quieter, while the ambient noise around them is louder and more constant.

 

This week, please help WDC ask Clear Channel to support the freedom of these canaries of the sea to keep singing in the wild.  Send an email and tell them: “iHeartWhales! Clear Channel, include belugas in your philanthropy projects.  Say NO to sponsoring the Georgia Aquarium! Wild Russian belugas shouldn’t be captive in US tanks!

 

Thank you for helping keep belugas singing, safe, and free. Check back next week for a new beluga fact & another action alert!