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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...

Want to name an Australian baby dolphin?

I have been studying a community of some 50 resident dolphins living in the Port River estuary (Adelaide, Australia) for the past 25 years. These dolphins are perhaps the most urbanised in the whole world, living as they do almost in the heart of a city of a million people.

About twenty years ago I observed a mum with a young dolphin with a vicious looking crescent scar across its whole dorsal fin. The scar was almost certainly the result of a shark attack. Presumably the calf’s mother had somehow repelled the shark and saved the young dolphin’s life.

It is always hard finding appropriate names for newly identified dolphins but in this case it was easy: this young dolphin with the shark attack scar had to be called Scarlett.

One of the joys of conducting long term research on the same group of dolphins is watching them develop over the years. Particularly satisfying is seeing female calves grow up and have their own calves, especially when, like Scarlett, their early lives were so precarious.

Dolphins in this community mostly give birth in late summer and during a survey last week I was overjoyed to discover Scarlett with a brand new calf. This calf still has clearly defined “foetal folds”, creases in its skin from when it was squashed up in its mother’s womb during the long 12 months of gestation, indicating it is still only a few days old.

WDC Australasia is relaunching our dolphin adoption program and we have decided to give new adopters the opportunity to name Scarlett’s new baby. We will choose what we think is the best name in a few weeks.

For further information about adopting an Australian dolphin please contact our Australian office at: [email protected]