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A dolphin called Arnie with a shell

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

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Leaping harbour porpoise

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Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

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Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

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As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...

Could judge’s decision on elephants pave the way for captive dolphins?

In a landmark case a US judge has ruled in favour of captive elephants and against the Los Angeles Zoo.

Judge John L. Segal in his judgment against the Los Angeles Zoo noted that despite representation to the contrary from zoo staff, ‘the elephants are not healthy, happy, and thriving’.

Elephants are large brained, social, long lived mammals, who invest a great deal of time and effort in raising their offspring; attributes that can also be used to describe dolphins and orcas. Science has also shown that elephants are self-aware, one aspect of consciousness that was previously believed to be the preserve of humans and a select group of primates. Now the science demonstrates that bottlenose dolphins are also self-aware.

Judge Segal noted that ‘Captivity is a terrible existence for any intelligent, self-aware species… to believe otherwise, as some high-ranking zoo employees appear to believe, is delusional’.

The judge stopped short of ordering that the elephants should be release to a sanctuary. Nevertheless, the captivity tide is turning and this case bodes well for other large brained, social, sentient species, such as whales and dolphins.

Read a report of this landmark case here.