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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...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

Arctic Adaptations

It can be very hard to find whales in the wild – they spend very little time at the surface, and not much of their body comes out of the water when they do break the line between our world and theirs.  The bright white bodies of beluga whales are easy to see from a distance when they are at the surface, but they usually appear as tiny white dots that emerge and are gone again in as little as three seconds – maybe it was just an ice floe!  Belugas lack a distinguishing feature that helps whale-watchers find other species (like orcas) at the water’s surface – a dorsal fin!  Belugas (and their cousin, the narwhal) are among the small number of whale species that don’t have fins on their back. 

For these arctic animals, lacking a dorsal fin provides a number of advantages in their unique environment: it cuts down on surface area, preventing heat loss, and allows them to travel closely under ice sheets.  Instead of the fin, belugas have a prominent dorsal ridge on their back – a firm crest that may be used to break open breathing holes in arctic ice sheets.

 

These belugas lack dorsal fins, an important adaptation in arctic waters.

This week, we’re asking home improvement mega-chain Home Depot to help keep these ice-adapted animals in the arctic waters where they belong.  On their website, Home Depot asserts that they “exercise good judgment by ‘doing the right thing’ instead of just ‘doing things right.’ We strive to understand the impact of our decisions, and we accept responsibility for our actions.”  Let’s encourage Home Depot to live up to their own high standards – send an email to tell them: “Home Depot, do the right thing and don’t sponsor Georgia Aquarium’s attempt to import wild belugas.  Whales belong in the wild!

 

Our campaign to target the sponsors of the Georgia Aquarium is winding down, but we still have a few weeks to go, and we’ve had good feedback from some of the sponsors!  By sharing your thoughts with them, you are encouraging them to learn more about the issue of captivity and exactly what they’re supporting when they sponsor the Georgia Aquarium, and they are reconsidering that decision!  See you next week for our next beluga fun fact!