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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...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...
Orcas at the seabed

The secrets of orca beach life

Rubbing on smooth pebbles is a generations-old cultural tradition for a particular group of orcas...

More bad news as two humpback dolphin species are elevated to Endangered and Critically Endangered status!

Just the other day i blogged about how, as a direct result of bycatch, the IUCN had uplisted both the Irrawaddy dolphin and the finless porpoise to Endangered status. I thought that was depressing enough but more bad news was to follow with the elevation of Atlantic humpback dolphins to Critically Endangered status and Indian Ocean humpback dolphins being elevated to Endangered status – what is happening to our flippered friends? Why are we decimating thier populations with such ease and consistency?

It was only recently that the Indo-Pacific dolphin was separated into distinct species and this news of their precariously low population numbers brings home the magnitude of the situation facing humpback dolphins across their range. 

Atlantic humpback dolphins are only found in shallow, nearshore waters along the western coast of north and central Africa. Only 20 years ago the species was classified as Data Deficient, meaning that we didn’t know enough about them to classify them, 10 years later research showed them to be Vulnerable, today that status is now Critically Endangered with the species having seen a reduction of approximately 80% in the past 75 years. The recdution in their numbers – approx. 1,500 mature individuals remain – is a direct result of bycatch and other coastal developments.

The Indian Ocean humpback dolphin was only recently classified as a distinct species from the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin and is found, as its name suggests, in the Indian Ocean from South Africa to India. as with other humpback dolphins, they live in nearshore waters and have a restricted range, meaning that human activities, and predominantly bycatch, are resulting in their population decline.

About Nicola Hodgins

Policy Manager at WDC