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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

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Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

WE ARE NOT ALONE: scientists conclude whales, dolphins and many other species are conscious

Consciousness is often perceived as an ethereal notion which is difficult to pin down. However, finally, a group of eminent scientists meeting to discuss the neurobiological basis of conscious experience and related behaviours agreed that:

Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Nonhuman animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

These scientists argue that the abundance of new data in this field requires a re-evaluation of our preconceptions about consciousness in other species. Whilst this may come as no surprise to many of us, it is a huge step forward for these scientists, from a broad range of neurobiological fields, to be satisfied that they have enough supporting evidence to boldly state the case for consciousness in these other species.

The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness was crafted in July at Cambridge University during the Francis Crick Memorial Conference on Consciousness in Human and non-Human Animals. The Declaration was signed by the conference participants and in the presence of the celebrated scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking.

WDCS argues that not only are whales and dolphins conscious, but that they often live in complex communities, that they are capable of experiencing a range of emotions and that they are sentient and sapient beings.