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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...

Bycatch responsible for two more species being placed on the Endangered List!

Unfortunately, 2017 is not turning out to be a great year for whales, dolphins and porpoises with the numbers of some species dropping to worrying levels. Added to the list of “endangered” species by the IUCN are the Irrawaddy dolphin and the finless porpoise both having had their numbers more than halved over the last 60 and 45 years respectively.

When the baiji was declared functionally extinct (meaning that even if one or two individuals survived the future of the species is in doubt) in 2007 the world mourned and the realisation that human-induced extinction of a dolphin species became a reality. Sadly however, it appears the lesson has not been learned as now, a mere ten years later, not only is the vaquita on the very brink of extinction – with less than 35 of these little porpoises left – but now another little porpoise, the narrow-ridged finless porpoise, found only in coastal waters from Korea and Japan south to the southern East China Sea and in the Yangtze River, has joined the unenviable rank of “Endangered” and all because of the use of static fishing nets which entangle them, and habitat destruction.

Joining this little porpoise and others on the list is the Irrawaddy dolphin, a charismatic and relatively small dolphin that is (or was) found across the coastal Indian Ocean from India to Indonesia as well as in several freshwater rivers and lakes. Over the years the population numbers of those inhabiting freshwater habitats have been declining rapidly as they’ve competed with humans for both space and food. For some time now they have been listed as critically endangered but now, their marine cousins are close to joining them with their status being elevated from vulnerable to endangered. Gill-nets have been the number one cause of death for these little dolphins and in some areas, only a handful remain.

The preference of both these species for coastal, estuarine and freshwater habitats where they live in close proximity to humans, has put them at risk from development (including dams and barrages) and deadly interactions with fishing nets. Their decline is a direct result of human activity.

How many more dolphin and porpoise species must go extinct before Governments sit up and listen, but more importantly take action?

Please make a donation to support our work to protect endangered whales and dolphins and their homes. Thank you.

About Nicola Hodgins

Policy Manager at WDC