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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...
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...

The Life of Riley, A WDC Shorewatch dog; Orcawatch by Steve Truluck

‘ORCA!!!!’ That was the new command billowing from my human during our visit to Duncansby Head, Caithness, Scotland.

We’ve done lots of training together including closing doors and bringing his slippers, but I’d never heard this command before!? Funnily enough though, all of the humans that were there did know this command. They would instantly jump up from their seats in a mad panic, look through their binoculars or telescopes and start shouting and squealing with joy. This was apparently because the humans were seeing the black and white dolphins – Orca.  

Years ago, a really nice human called Colin, had spotted a pattern of Orcas coming to Scotland every year. By using photo identification of saddle patches and dorsal fins, it has been confirmed that a few pods of orca travel all the way from Iceland and arrive in Caithness at the end of May in time to meet up with the local seals. Colin told his friends at Sea Watch Foundation and they told their friends at Whale and Dolphin Conservation and now everyone goes together to ‘Orcawatch.’

It was such a great week. Everyone was having fun in the sun together. I had lots of people throwing sticks for me and Peter and Rachel even let me sleep in their campervan. There were Seawatchers on the ferry all week and  BookFace was also providing lots of updates of Orca sightings in Orkney and around Scotland. We even got filmed for Newsround! It was all very, very exciting while we waited for someone to shout the command.

Fortunately, my human regularly shouted ‘Orca’ and made lots of humans happy. One time, the Orca came right over to see us at Duncansby Head. Most of the humans took photos to try and identify the creatures,but my human put a little boy called Finn on his shoulders to see them instead. I sat and watched as everyone then went crazy and ran around the cliff to try and get more photos. There was stuff going everywhere in the excitement!

So now I know what to do when my human shouts  ‘Orca!’ I will just sit and watch all the craziness happening around me. It’s incredible what an effect seeing whales and dolphins wild and free has on humans. I hope I don’t have to wait too long to see lots of humans so happy. Worst case scenario it’ll only be until next year during Orcawatch 2018.