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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...

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!