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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...

We should stop taking selfies and start looking in the mirror

The horrific story of the young Franciscana dolphins plucked from the sea on the beach at Santa Teresita in Argentina highlights what is wrong in our relationship with animals and the environment. In the age of the selfie and Facebook, our connection to the natural world has regressed to one that is superficial in nature. We’ve become more interested in getting that elusive pic to garner more likes than caring about an creature that is clearly in distress. Children growing up indoors, glued to phones, tablets and TV’s is creating a clear disconnect to the world that surrounds them. The Earth is not “ours”; it is a place we share with everything else that inhabits it. As a charity that is working hard to conserve the Franciscana dolphin in Argentina, we must speak up for their rights as individuals that should be able to swim free without the threat of human impact.

Franciscana dolphins

The Franciscana dolphin is a species under threat. Indeed, it is considered the most threatened dolphin in the Southerwestern Atlantic Ocean. It is an endemic species that only inhabits the coastal water of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and is listed as vulnerable under the IUCN Red List. Fewer than 30,000 remain in the wild today. Recent analysis of the population shows a projected decline of more than 30% over three generations (1). This decline is most likely underestimated, so this conservative figure shows the precarious position the species is in at the present time. The causes of the population decline (accidental capture in fishing nets, reduction in prey/food) are increasing because of fishery expansion and lack of effective mitigation actions. Despite the respective governments and International Whaling Commission (IWC – the organisation that regualtes whale/dolphin hunting) acknowledging the threats posed to the species, little has changed to help halt the dramatic decline in their numbers.

WDC in action

Since 2011, WDC, in collaboration with local NGO Fundación Cethus, have been carrying out various projects to help conserve these enigmatic individuals. Little is known about the ecology of this species in the wild, including important areas and habitat, something our work aims to address. Our focus has been on carrying out population assessments to survey which areas are important for breeding and feeding, as well as carrying out local educational and outreach programs for their conservation.

Through working with local communities, we have started to raise awareness and put in place measures which will reduce the threat of the dolphins being caught in gillnets, including promoting the adoption of a Marine Protected Area status. Our research has also identified a potentially genetically unique population of Franciscana in the Río Negro region, highlighting the huge gap in our understanding of this species and the damage to certain populations which could have disastrous consequences.

How you can help

Our work conserving the Franciscana dolphin is only just beginning. We know that it’s imperative to build on our recent successes and help formulate action plans that will protect Francsicana for years to come. Our field officers in Argentina need all the help and finance they can get to afford to carry out essential boat surveys and community work. If you feel compelled to act, please help us by making a donation to this work.

£5 will help us give 1 child a place in one of our educational workshops

£10 will help us to purchase materials for a beach clean in the Rio Negro area

£20 will go towards our work educating local fisherman

£50 will help us to create a Regional Action Plan for the Franciscana species

DONATE NOW