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Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...

Making Faces for Food

“If you keep making that face it’ll freeze that way!” Do you think beluga moms use that line on their kids? Probably not, because the moms are making faces, too!  Belugas have very malleable mouths with a cleft upper lip.  These traits are unusual among whales and dolphins, but give belugas their uniquely wide range of “facial expressions,” the ability to pucker their lips, and squirt water with amazing accuracy.

While those skills may seem custom-made for the entertainment of oceanaria visitors, they actually have a very important function for survival in the wild.  Many of the belugas’ various prey items are bottom dwellers, and belugas use their flexible lips and mouths to create suction for feeding.  It’s a shame that the way belugas forage has been twisted by captivity into a stunt intended to amuse spectators.

 

This week, help us keep belugas wild and free by telling Turner Broadcasting (owners of TBS & CNN – where “Blackfish” has recently been seen by millions – among other networks) that you are not amused or entertained by captivity.  We’re going back to Facebook this week (TBS doesn’t provide a general contact email) to tell them: “Turner Broadcasting, you say you’ve been environmentally responsible since your founding – importing wild Russian belugas is NOT environmentally responsible! Say NO to sponsoring the Georgia Aquarium.”

 

Thanks for being part of another action alert – see you next week for your new beluga fun fact!