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Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Orcas are one of only five species known to experience menopause and females can live...
The Risso’s collective – collaborating with scientists all over the world

The Risso’s collective – collaborating with scientists all over the world

Risso’s dolphins are big. They grow up to four metres in length and with their...
Rastus – the tale of an extraordinary dog and his love of dolphins

Rastus – the tale of an extraordinary dog and his love of dolphins

Dr Nicolette Scourse is an academic, educator, author and illustrator with a passion for whales,...
Antarctic minke whale alongside Japanese whaling ship.

What now for the whales of Japan?

News that Shinzo Abe is stepping down as Japan’s prime minister could be another nail...
A little slice of heaven – amazing dolphin sightings around the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

A little slice of heaven – amazing dolphin sightings around the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

As I headed up north to begin my 2020 summer fieldwork season here on the...
Successful campaigning starts at home – how WDC supports grassroots end captivity campaigners

Successful campaigning starts at home – how WDC supports grassroots end captivity campaigners

For the last 20 years, I’ve been leading Whale and Dolphin Conservation's work to end...
Working with Amazon communities to protect pink river dolphins

Working with Amazon communities to protect pink river dolphins

Whale and Dolphin Conservation is a founding supporter of the Natutama Foundation. Natutama works in...
Tahlequah the orca is pregnant and I’m holding my breath

Tahlequah the orca is pregnant and I’m holding my breath

I felt such conflicting emotions when I heard the news that Tahlequah is expecting a...

Arctic Adaptations

It can be very hard to find whales in the wild – they spend very little time at the surface, and not much of their body comes out of the water when they do break the line between our world and theirs.  The bright white bodies of beluga whales are easy to see from a distance when they are at the surface, but they usually appear as tiny white dots that emerge and are gone again in as little as three seconds – maybe it was just an ice floe!  Belugas lack a distinguishing feature that helps whale-watchers find other species (like orcas) at the water’s surface – a dorsal fin!  Belugas (and their cousin, the narwhal) are among the small number of whale species that don’t have fins on their back. 

For these arctic animals, lacking a dorsal fin provides a number of advantages in their unique environment: it cuts down on surface area, preventing heat loss, and allows them to travel closely under ice sheets.  Instead of the fin, belugas have a prominent dorsal ridge on their back – a firm crest that may be used to break open breathing holes in arctic ice sheets.

 

These belugas lack dorsal fins, an important adaptation in arctic waters.

This week, we’re asking home improvement mega-chain Home Depot to help keep these ice-adapted animals in the arctic waters where they belong.  On their website, Home Depot asserts that they “exercise good judgment by ‘doing the right thing’ instead of just ‘doing things right.’ We strive to understand the impact of our decisions, and we accept responsibility for our actions.”  Let’s encourage Home Depot to live up to their own high standards – send an email to tell them: “Home Depot, do the right thing and don’t sponsor Georgia Aquarium’s attempt to import wild belugas.  Whales belong in the wild!

 

Our campaign to target the sponsors of the Georgia Aquarium is winding down, but we still have a few weeks to go, and we’ve had good feedback from some of the sponsors!  By sharing your thoughts with them, you are encouraging them to learn more about the issue of captivity and exactly what they’re supporting when they sponsor the Georgia Aquarium, and they are reconsidering that decision!  See you next week for our next beluga fun fact!