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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
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

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
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...

Little Whales in a Big Ocean

The beginning of the field season is always really exciting, as we see which whales are first to return, which mothers have calves this year, and hope that none of our beloved whales go missing!  We’ve already seen incredible feeding displays and have a growing list of mothers that are returning with their calves to teach them how to feed, socialize, and maneuver through the ocean.  What we didn’t expect to see was evidence that some of these calves have already narrowly escaped death in just their first few months of life. So far, three little ones have unfortunately already been seen with various wounds.

 

Apex’s calf is fairly large considering its age- a sign that Apex is a great mother and the calf is healthy.  However, when looking at its tail stock, there are scars from an entanglement in fishing line. 

 

Fern’s calf is an average size for a calf (this is Fern’s 9th calf) and has been seen on a few occasions with a fresh wound.  While it’s unclear what caused the injury, part of the dorsal fin has been cut open and is still in the process of healing.

 

Buckshot’s calf is luckiest of all to be alive.  This poor calf has a massive injury on the left side of its body, undoubtedly as a result of being struck by a vessel.  A number of concerns arise when a whale has an open wound of that size. First, like humans, whales can die from losing too much blood.  Given the location of the injury, it could have also impacted some of the major organs, causing damage internally.  While the wound is starting to heal, this calf is not out of the woods yet.  Whales have died due to chronic infection as a result of being struck by a ship.  This could take months or even years to eventually take its toll, and therefore have the potential to severely affect the welfare of the individual.

In addition to the pain which these calves have obviously felt, imagine how their mothers must feel.  Whales are sentient beings.  Calves rely on their mothers and stay with them for the first year of life.  The mother is responsible for protecting and preparing her young to survive on their own.  Whales communicate and sense their surroundings.  They frequently travel in pairs or groups and have social structures within their population.  In the cases of Apex, Fern, and Buckshot, each of these mothers were undoubtedly near her calf when it was injured and reacted similarly to the way we as humans would if our child was injured.

Negative human impacts on these populations need to cease so that all whales will stand a chance for survival.  Help us in the fight to protect these sentient beings by supporting our work through a donation, signing our petition to increase and expand protections for whales, and stay up to date on our work.