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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...
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...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
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...

Best practice in rescue

Finding a live stranded dolphin or whale on the shore is always an unexpected and deeply emotional experience. There is little that can prepare you for it. Largely without government funding, the rescue of dolphins and whales is generally undertaken by passionate volunteers. Hopefully a veterinarian with experience of marine species will oversee the rescue, sometimes marine mammal scientists are involved and often local communities assist.

What we learn about how best to rescue those individuals that are deemed healthy enough to be returned to the sea, we learn from each other and from experience. In 2013, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and WDC organised the European Cetacean Society Best Practice in Rescue workshop, with contributions from vets and others with extensive marine mammal rescue expertise from throughout Europe and the US, to benefit from our collective knowledge.

I have attended many, many strandings over the years. Each stranding is unique, yet I have found every one similarly shocking and emotional. How can finding a dolphin or whale out of the sea and lying on the beach in front of you be anything else? I’m sad to say that none of those stranded whales and dolphins have survived and so I have not yet had the opportunity to be involved in a rescue attempt. When that day comes, I will feel better prepared because of the experiences that those who have been there before me have shared.  

If you find a stranded dolphin or whale, please contact your local rescue network so that the appropriate veterinary advice can be provided and the best care and support given.