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Sperm whale underwater

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Sperm whale © Douglas Hoffman

Featured policy news item

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All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
  • Whale watching
Sperm whale underwater

Man arrested on suspicion of selling whale teeth

A man has been arrested by police in Oxfordshire following the discovery of a large...

Hundreds of whales killed as Norwegian hunt season ends

The end of the whaling season in Norway has been announced with 580 minke whales killed...

Third orca death in 18 months at theme park

Loro Parque tourist attraction in Tenerife, Spain has announced the death of Kohana, a 20-year-old...

WDC’s Shorewatch work shortlisted for nature award

We are thrilled that our Shorewatch programme has been shortlisted in the Citizen Science category...
All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
  • Strandings
Sperm whale © Douglas Hoffman

Featured policy news item

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc magna elit, gravida at lectus vitae,...
sea_world_orlando_rob_lott

Holiday giant Thomas Cook stops selling tickets to Seaworld and Loro Parque

Holiday giant Thomas Cook stops selling tickets to Seaworld and Loro Parque Following a three...

Endangered Southern Resident orca loses newborn calf

In heartbreaking news from the Pacific Northwest, the Center for Whale Research has reported that...
srkw_shoup_2003_text

U.S. Defense Bill weakens protections for whales

24 July 2018, Plymouth, MA: The FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act conference report was released...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

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Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...
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One step closer to more salmon for endangered Southern Resident orcas

On June 28, 2018, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) filed “The Definite Plan” for...
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A NASA-funded study has warned that marine creatures like whales and dolphins will be exposed...
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Japan set to resume commercial whaling

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Surf’s up for porpoises in Wales

Surfing harbour porpoise

Rare images of porpoises surfing the waves off the coast of Wales were snapped by members of a research team from WDC over the weekend as they scanned the water from a land-based platform on the Lleyn peninsula.

Whilst this kind of behaviour is common among their bigger cousins, dolphins, it is not often that the shy little porpoise is spotted surfing the waves. In fact they are only rarely ‘porpoise’ – the term given when a porpoise or dolphin moves at speed and comes completely out of the water.

Pine Eisfeld-Pierantonio, WDC policy manager and member of the research team said; We saw some harbour porpoises just below our platform (350m off the rocks) and we couldn’t believe our eyes - they were surfing!  I have not seen this with porpoises before, only dolphins. We could make their dark shapes out through the water, just under the surface, swimming with the forming waves, sometimes staying under water and sometimes surfing the crest of the wave. Five porpoises including a mother and calf did this, and only this, for well over 30 minutes.

‘These porpoises certainly looked like they enjoyed what they were doing. They rode the wave, then you could see them swim further out to catch the next one. It looked like it was for pure enjoyment, getting a free ride along with the ‘pressure wave’ just like when people go and surf.’

The English word ‘porpoise' is derived from the Latin word for pig – porcus. Rather unflatteringly, the harbour porpoise used to be known as the 'puffing pig', because of the sneeze-like puffing sound they make when they breathe!

More on WDC’s ongoing Bardsey Island research project here

[shariff]

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