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Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

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