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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...

The mystery of dolphins & breaching

The bottlenose dolphin is possibly the most socially active of the dolphin species that we get in the chilly waters of the Moray Firth and North East Coast of Scotland and many people that visit this area want to see the dolphins doing one thing – breaching or jumping clear out of the water. This highly energetic activity uses up a lot of calories and in nature very little in the way of reserves can afford be wasted…it must mean something or be important for the dolphin to do this. 

Most dolphins are of course highly social and use the equivalent of our “body language” a lot to demonstrate or get across to another individual a meaning or intention. Breaching can be part of a hunting technique – to herd or scare fish into a specific area but at this time of year, high summer, we see a lot of breaching and highly energetic behaviour that seems to be more personal in nature. Social bonding is very important in cetacean culture and some of the breaching activity is likely to be re-establishing social bonds or is perhaps sexual in nature – it is very difficult to tell in a lot of cases but whatever is going on with the two young males in the photo above – it certainly is spectacular and wonderful to witness in the wild, open sea – where every whale and dolphin belongs.

About Charlie Phillips

Field officer - Adopt a Dolphin