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Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
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...

Death of a species

The discovery of yet another dead endangered North Atlantic right whale off Virginia brings the loss to a total of 18 dead since April, a devastating blow to the species during a year when only five calves were born.  

While 12 of the deaths occurred in Canadian waters between June and September, this latest mortality is the fifth known to occur in US waters off the coast of Cape Cod.  

Recently published research confirms that the species has been in decline since 2010 as a result of human impacts.  With fewer than 450 remaining, researchers estimate certain extinction within 23 years unless threats to the species are drastically reduced. 

Right whales were once driven to near extinction due to commercial whaling and now once again face extinction as a result of vessel strikes and entanglements in fishing gear.  

Ironically, human impacts on North Atlantic right whales ultimately impact our own survival as research indicates that whales play a significant role in global ecosystems. Whales transport nutrients to surface waters where they sustain phytoplankton, a tiny floating ocean plant. Phytoplankton provide up to half the earth’s oxygen, sequesters carbon thereby fighting climate change, and sustains fish stocks. 

According to Regina Asmutis-Silvia, WDC-NA executive director, “It’s pretty clear that if we do nothing we have condemned a species, on which we depend, to extinction… ultimately dooming our own existence.” 

What WDC is doing:

  • WDC and its conservation partners are seeking action by the governments of the US and Canada to fulfil their obligations under the US Endangered Species Act and the Canadian Species At Risk Act.
  • As a federally appointed member of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, WDC is continuing its collaborative work to devise measures that reduce the risk of entanglements. 
  • And in response to the recent deaths of right whales in Canada, WDC has formally requested that the MSC certification of the Canadian snow crab fishery be withdrawn until the fishery operates in a way that does not jeopardize the continued survival of right whales.

Since its incorporation in 2005, WDC’s North American office has implemented a program specifically dedicated to the continued survival of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, a project which the Patagonia Outdoor Clothing and Gear company has helped to support since 2010.

Help us save this species – donate today