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Mindful conservation – why we need a new respect for nature

'We should look at whales and dolphins as the indigenous people of the seas -...
tins of whale meat

How Japan’s whaling industry is trying to convince people to eat whales

Japan's hunters kill hundreds of whales every year despite the fact that hardly anyone in...
Common dolphins © Christopher Swann

Did you know dolphins have personalities?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
Microplastics on beach

Blue whales and the menace of microplastics – how we’ll solve this problem

Our love affair with plastic began in the 1950s when it revolutionised manufacturing. But what...
A dolphin called Arnie with his shell.

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

Did you know that dolphins have unique personalities?

We all have personalities, and between the work Christmas party and your family get-together, perhaps...
Leaping harbour porpoise

The power of harbour porpoise poo

We know we need to save the whale to save the world. Now we are...
Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

Meet Holly, she’s an incredible orca leader

Let me tell you the story of an awe-inspiring orca with a fascinating family story...

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!