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Orca Watch Scotland 2019 – the results are in!

Orca Watch Scotland 2019 – the results are in!

Orca Watch 2019 really had it all this year - wind, rain, some stunning sunsets...
Icelandic fin whales win a reprieve this summer

Icelandic fin whales win a reprieve this summer

I can’t tell you how delighted I am at the news that fin whales will...
Extinction emergency – we need action right now to save New Zealand dolphins

Extinction emergency – we need action right now to save New Zealand dolphins

Every year on 8 June we celebrate World Oceans Day - a day when we’re...
Looking out for orcas from the Scottish north coast – Orca Watch 2019

Looking out for orcas from the Scottish north coast – Orca Watch 2019

Orca Watch week is now in its eighth year and is run by the Sea...
How cigarette butts pollute the ocean and harm whales and dolphins

How cigarette butts pollute the ocean and harm whales and dolphins

Today is World No Tobacco Day and you could be forgiven for wondering what that’s...
How you fly two beluga whales home to the ocean

How you fly two beluga whales home to the ocean

Ahead of the relocation of Little White and Little Grey to the world’s first open...
Is a good outcome possible for the jailed whales in Russia?

Is a good outcome possible for the jailed whales in Russia?

It’s not often that we report good news from Russia about whales and dolphins. We...
My amazing time as a WDC volunteer researcher on the Welsh island of Bardsey

My amazing time as a WDC volunteer researcher on the Welsh island of Bardsey

WDC has a long-running research project studying the dolphins and porpoises who make their homes...

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.

nicola.hodgins

About nicola.hodgins

Policy manager - Science