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Long-finned pilot whale

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All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
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
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
  • Whale watching
Long-finned pilot whale

Pilot whales strand in New Zealand

Volunteer rescuers from Project Jonah, experts in attending strandings, were able to return nearly 30...
harbour-porpoise-chesil-beach-csip-zsl

Norway takes action to save porpoises from death in nets

In what the government describes as a rapid regulatory change, fishers in parts of Norway...
Photo by WDC

Go Team Ocean! The Cheeky Panda makes a splash for World Whale Day

Photo by Dr. Cara Miller On Sunday 21st February, in honour of World Whale Day,...
Common dolphin with injuries from fishing net

WDC highlights how UK Government can save a dolphin a day

Based on recent figures, it is estimated that around 1,000 porpoises, hundreds of dolphins and...
All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
Sperm whale © Douglas Hoffman

Featured policy news item

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc magna elit, gravida at lectus vitae,...
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Holiday giant Thomas Cook stops selling tickets to Seaworld and Loro Parque

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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

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