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Risso's dolphins are captured in Taiji hunt. Image: LIA and Dolphin Project

Heartbreak and practical action – the horror of the Taiji dolphin hunts and one Japanese activist’s determination

Back in November, I shared my heartache at the drama unfolding in the waters off...
Common Dolphin

Goodbye Bycatch – what have we achieved and what’s next?

Thank you to everyone who's got involved with our campaign to stop dolphins, porpoises and...
Haul of sea bass on French pair trawlers, Le Baron and Magellan, fishing in the English channel. Greenpeace is currently in the English channel protesting against pelagic pair trawling due to the high numbers of dolphin deaths associated with it.

Seaspiracy

Ali and Lucy Tabrizi's Netflix film Seaspiracy is compelling viewing for anyone who cares for...
Porpoise, Conwy Wales. WDC

Why do porpoises and dolphins find it so difficult to avoid fishing nets?

When a dolphin or porpoise is caught or entangled in fishing gear it's known as...
WDC NA

Reflection – what this remarkable whale teaches us about humpbacks and their fascinating lives

Reflection, like all humpback whales, was born with a unique black and white pattern on...

Meet the brainiacs of the underwater world – deep thinkers with intricate emotional lives

Whales and dolphins have big brains, and large brained beings have a few things in...

Growing up with the amazing Adelaide Port River dolphins

Squeak, one of the Port River dolphins If you are able to make a donation,...

Real lives lost – the true dolphin, porpoise and whale stories behind the bycatch statistics

Every dolphin, porpoise and whale who dies in fishing gear was an individual with their...

Whales and dolphins have flippin’ awesome support bubbles

Friends and family all get involved in bringing up the younger generation of whales and dolphins.

Losing the childcare provided by our extended families, childminders, nurseries and schools has put pressure on many families. We rely on these support networks to take care of our young while we do what we need to do to provide food and security, and socialise. Looking after children that aren’t our own is common in human society, but is not the case for most species. Whales and dolphins are, however, an exception.

Pod of dolphins in Moray Firth

Whales and dolphins are amazing - your donation will help us keep them safe.

Pilot whales - community living

It takes a village to raise a pilot whale. They live in multi-generational families of 24 to 48 whales and calves regularly swim with male and female adults, other than their parents. This shared parenting is a sign of a very tightly bonded society. It might be that by spending time with different adults, the youngsters are learning how to behave within their community.

It takes a village to raise a pilot whale © Andrew Sutton
It takes a village to raise a pilot whale © Andrew Sutton

Sperm whale babysitters

These deep divers operate a kind of babysitting circle, taking it in turns to look after the young whales while the rest of the group is hunting in the depths. Female sperm whales will even suckle babies who are not their own, leaving Mum free to forage. A group that protects each other’s young will grow bigger meaning more whales to look out for orcas.

Orcas - family is everything

Granny plays a vital role in orca society. Orcas are one of only five species known to go through the menopause (the others being belugas, narwhals, short-finned pilot whales and humans). Orcas experience menopause at around 45 and can live to 90 so once they are no longer able to have babies, they have a lot of life left to pass on knowledge and help look after the younger generations. While Mum is diving for food, baby stays at the surface where Granny can babysit. Research has revealed that an orca calf will be four times more likely to die within the next two years if their grandmother has died.

 

Group of orcas off Kamchatka, Russia
Orca group © FEROP

Dolphin day care

Dolphins babysit for each other. Male dolphins have been seen overseeing groups of juvenile dolphins and older brothers and sisters will take care of their siblings - we think this might be a way of teaching them to be parents. Baby dolphins have been seen interacting with other youngsters in ‘playpens’ created by a ring of protective adults. Dolphins will even babysit dolphins of another species. In the Bahamas, female spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins hang out together and even look after each other’s kids.

The more I learn about whales and dolphins, the more in awe of them I become and the more determined to protect them. Thank you for your support.

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Julia Pix

About Julia Pix

Communications manager - Public Engagement

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