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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...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

An extremely rare find …

The violent and seemingly never-ending storms that battered the UK coastline throughout the winter months brought with them a very rare visitor to our shores. For only the second time in recorded history (the last time was almost 20 years ago on a beach in Wales), a Blainville’s beaked whale stranded on a beach in Cornwall, in the south-west of the country. Although it turned out to be a very sad end for the individual whale, the information gleamed from this whale will help us to understand more about the species and ultimately help us to protect them. 

In truth, very little is known about beaked whales, with some species only described to science by way of a few bones. It is known that beaked whales inhabit temperate and tropical waters of all the three major oceans however, with the effects of climate change it may be that discoveries of this kind (in cooler waters) become more common in years to come.

This stranding amplifies the importance of reporting a stranded marine mammal to the relevant authorities as originally this sub-adult Blainville’s beaked whale was assumed to be a porpoise and only with confirmation by beaked whale experts, was a positive identification to species given. 

Wherever you are in the world, if you come across a stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise please be sure to report it to the relevant authorities as the information gathered can be critical to furthering our understanding of these magnificent creatures.

About Nicola Hodgins

Policy Manager at WDC