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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

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...
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...

Well, “eel” be damned …

Finding out more about the behaviour of whales, dolphins and porpoises can be a tricky business but researchers in Denmark have inadvertently discovered a new technique and all by accident.

Scientists studying the oceanic migration behaviour of eels implanted tags that would record both temperature and depth into adult eels released on the Atlantic coasts of France and Ireland. Quite unexpectedly, for three of the tags there was a dramatic rise in temperature from 10°C to 36°C and the depth data recorded showed frequent dives to depths of around 800m, indicating that the tagged eels had been eaten by something with a penchant for eel.

Two of the tags had sufficient data to provide even more information. Between them, they recorded a total of 91 dives to maximum depths of 250-860m lasting 11-12 minutes and with surface intervals of 5-7 minutes. In addition, more than two thirds of the dives included a rapid descent from approximately 500m to 600-700m.

This additional information allowed the scientists to conclude that the eel-eating predator was most likely a deep-diving toothed whale – perhaps a sperm whale or a Cuvier’s beaked whale to name but a few.