Skip to content

The Green Whale

Save the .

Whales and dolphins are remarkable. But why are they so important? Why do we need to end captivity, stop whaling, prevent deaths in fishing gear, and protect their homes, the seas and rivers of the world?

Whales play an amazing role in an ecosystem that keeps every creature on Earth alive, including you!

Humans have done enormous damage to the planet including killing millions of whales and wiping out up to...

%

...of some populations.

Yet few people, let alone governments, are aware that recovering whale and dolphin populations can undo some of the damage we’ve caused.

How whales support the marine ecosystem.

Whales act as 'ecosystem engineers'. As they dive deep to feed, and then come to the surface to breathe and poo, they circulate huge amounts of nutrients, particularly iron and nitrogen . Whale poo is a brilliant fertiliser for microscopic plants called phytoplankton, which, as the basis for the entire marine ecosystem, remove millions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere and produce massive amounts of oxygen. This is known as the "Whale Pump".

Whales as ecosystem engineers - the Whale Pump

As whales undertake their long migrations, from nutrient rich areas to nutrient poor areas, they transport essential nutrients across the ocean in a process known as the “Great Whale Conveyor Belt”.

Save the .

You can make a big impact on one of the world’s biggest challenges, by getting behind the world’s biggest creatures.

Whether you are an individual or a company find out how by supporting WDC you can help solve the climate crisis.

It is estimated that as a direct result of whaling, the current populations of large baleen whales now store over 9 million tons less carbon than before whaling.

Krill
Krill

It is estimated that as a direct result of whaling, the current populations of large baleen whales now currently store over 9 million tons less carbon than before whaling.

By circulating nutrients and fertilising phytoplankton with their poo, sperm whales in the Southern Ocean help sequester over 19M trees worth of carbon.

Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton

If blue whales in the Southern Ocean recovered to pre-whaling levels, they could provide enough nutrients for phytoplankton to store over 6 billion trees worth of carbon.

Carbon in the atmosphere is a significant cause of climate change.

Climate change is the greatest threat to all life on Earth.

So, the more whales there are, the more phytoplankton there is, and the more carbon is taken out of the atmosphere.

Even in death, whales sustain life. When they die, whales sink to the seabed, where they become oases for marine life, taking huge amounts of carbon with them to the sea-bed. Researchers estimate that large whales store approximately nine million tonnes less carbon now than they did before large-scale whaling.

Whale Fall - When whales die they still help combat the climate crisis.

Find out more about how whales are key in helping us fight the biodiversity and climate crisis.

Latest news and views

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 lives, and we are leaning more about them all the time. But we are only...
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 wonder what kind of world we'd have now if they did.  There'd certainly be more...
Meet Charlie - bottlenose dolphin

UK government’s poor performance on the marine environment

One year ago, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow declared 2021 a 'Marine Super Year', stressing that the UK would use its COP26 presidency to lead calls to restore the marine environment...