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Kiska the orca

Real stories from the dark side of captivity

Since we launched our campaign, we've been talking a lot about what a dark place...
Theo's rubbish collection

WDC Dolphin Defender Theo awarded BBC Climate Champion Award

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
End captivity background

Uncovering the dark side of captivity

Last week we launched our major new campaign to reveal and uncover the dark side...
Bottlenose dolphins © Christopher Swann

On the anniversary of the massacre of 1,423 dolphins, what’s changed?

One year ago today, 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, including mothers with calves and pregnant females,...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
A dolphin plays in front of the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay

Sharing our Spey Bay stories – tell us yours

2022 is Scotland's Year of Stories, a year in which stories inspired by, created or...
Orcas in Australia

Did orcas help rescue entangled humpback whale?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
An orca named 'Hulk' off Caithness, Scotland

My amazing week watching orcas in Scotland

Orca Watch's 10th anniversary event in the far north of Scotland was exhilarating with a...

And the award for deep-diving champion goes to?

Not the sperm whale as some might have thought, but in fact the lesser known Cuvier’s beaked whale!! 

Researchers from Cascadia Research Collective recorded an individual Cuvier’s beaked whale diving to a depth of almost 3km and staying there for 137 minutes, beating the former record holder – the southern elephant seal – by some margin. So how can they dive to such depths? One of the reasons is that there is a dramatic reduction in air spaces in their bodies, air spaces that would crush a human at a fraction of the depth these whales can dive to.

They found that the whales preferred diving behaviour is for a single deep foraging dive followed by a series of shallow dives, whilst the time spent at the surface in between each dive can be very short – just a few minutes.

Another interesting result from the study was “where” the whales were located – within the Southern California Anti-Submarine Warfare Range, one of the most heavily used sonar training areas in the world. The implications of this are unknown, have they become habituated to sonar? Do they only use it at times of no sonar activity? Is their behaviour affected by sonar – as in are they diving deeper than normal, or perhaps shallower than normal? It is unlikely that they are not affected at all and therefore more research is needed to try and unravel the mystery of these new record holders.

Find out more amazing facts about whales and dolphins.

About Nicola Hodgins

Policy Manager at WDC