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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...
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...

That‘s just “quackers” …

Back in the 1960’s submarines detected a bizarre “quacking” sound in the southern ocean and have been perplexed as to its origins ever since. The noise – nicknamed the “bio-duck” – was only heard during winter and spring months and was attributed to everything from ships to fish, but no-one really knew what was making the noise and until now it was purely guess work. 

Researchers using novel acoustic recorders now claim to have conclusive evidence that the “bio-duck” is actually the chattering of the Antarctic minke whale. Although there are still lots of questions surrounding the production of the strange quacking noise they do know that the vocalisations appear to be made close to the surface and before the whales embark on a deep dive to find food. 

More research needs to be undertaken but one exciting result of this positive identification of the noise means that more can be learnt about the migratory routes of these elusive whales as currently little is known about their movements.

Interestingly, although not published, similar “quacking” calls have been recorded from minke whales in the winter months in the North Atlantic. So perhaps it’s not just the Antarctic minke whales who are making these sounds … or perhaps they’re travelling much further than anyone ever thought? 

If one thing is for sure, we’ve still got much to learn about these amazing creatures.

Listen to the sound made by the whales, courtesy of livescience.

About Nicola Hodgins

Policy Manager at WDC