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WDC exposes failure of Government scheme to protect whales and dolphins from net deaths

Following our investigations, we have revealed that a UK Government scheme to protect whales and...

First cases of bird flu in dolphins discovered in the UK

The UK Government has announced that two dolphins and a harbour porpoise have died from...
Kiska the orca

Kiska the ‘world’s loneliest whale’ dies at Canadian theme park

Kiska, dubbed the loneliest whale in the world, has died at Marineland, a zoo and...

Man charged in US for harassing whale

Police in the US are investigating reports of a man known as 'Dolphin Dave' repeatedly...

New study uses facial recognition to identify dolphins

For many years, the leading non-invasive way to identify whales and dolphins has been to use photo-identification. Some markings on certain parts of their bodies, such as tail flukes in some species or dorsal fin in others, can remain largely unchanged throughout their lives which enables scientists to closely follow the lives of individuals.

A new study published in the journal Marine Mammal Science has shown that facial recognition can also play a part in identification after scientists carried out tests to see if people could identify dolphins using this method alone. Not only was it successful but identification was possible when comparing one side of the face with the other.

The authors believe that while this method of identification cannot replace traditional photo-id techniques, it might be complementary in helping to identify individuals in certain species which lack characteristics such as an large dorsal fin, or young calves which have yet to pick up any identifiable markings.

Novel method for identifying individual cetaceans using facial features and symmetry: A test case using dolphins
Tilen Genov, Tina Centrih, Andrew J. Wright, Gi-Mick Wu
Marine Mammal Science

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.