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Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...
Orcas at the seabed

The secrets of orca beach life

Rubbing on smooth pebbles is a generations-old cultural tradition for a particular group of orcas...

Consider the pilot whales

A new website has surfaced that shifts the focus from the conflict surrounding the pilot whale drive hunts, or ‘grindadrap,’ that usually occur in the Faroe Islands between the months of May and November, to the beauty and wonder of the pilot whale. Introduced just weeks ago, grindaboð.fo provides a Faroese perspective on pilot whales and threats to their survival. An English version of the website will reportedly be online by the end of September.

A stated goal of this new initiative is to pay tribute to this iconic animal that has played an important role in the survival of the Faroese people through difficult times in history. It also seeks to provide basic information about the pilot whale, and cetacean life in general.

WDC understands that whaling in the Faroe Islands has been considered to be an important part of Faroese tradition for many centuries. We believe, however, that in situations where they are no longer necessary for subsistence purposes and where they seriously and demonstrably compromise human health, animal welfare and wildlife conservation, such traditional activities should cease. WDC will continue to oppose these hunts, and indeed all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition.

However, instead of focusing on this conflict, it is wonderful to see an initiative coming from voices within the Faroe Islands seeking awareness and understanding of these amazing creatures, perhaps enabling the public to view these issues through a different lens, and through the perspective and consideration of the pilot whale, in all of its beauty, complexity, and capacity for suffering.

We hope for a day when the ‘grindadráp’ will end and all Faroese people will find new and harmless ways of engaging with pilot whales. Perhaps a first step is to engender a curiosity to understand and really know these complex, sentient, and social creatures, not as objects to be consumed or exploited, but as part of our shared marine heritage that deserves our reverence and respect.