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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...

Consider the pilot whales

A new website has surfaced that shifts the focus from the conflict surrounding the pilot whale drive hunts, or ‘grindadrap,’ that usually occur in the Faroe Islands between the months of May and November, to the beauty and wonder of the pilot whale. Introduced just weeks ago, grindaboð.fo provides a Faroese perspective on pilot whales and threats to their survival. An English version of the website will reportedly be online by the end of September.

A stated goal of this new initiative is to pay tribute to this iconic animal that has played an important role in the survival of the Faroese people through difficult times in history. It also seeks to provide basic information about the pilot whale, and cetacean life in general.

WDC understands that whaling in the Faroe Islands has been considered to be an important part of Faroese tradition for many centuries. We believe, however, that in situations where they are no longer necessary for subsistence purposes and where they seriously and demonstrably compromise human health, animal welfare and wildlife conservation, such traditional activities should cease. WDC will continue to oppose these hunts, and indeed all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition.

However, instead of focusing on this conflict, it is wonderful to see an initiative coming from voices within the Faroe Islands seeking awareness and understanding of these amazing creatures, perhaps enabling the public to view these issues through a different lens, and through the perspective and consideration of the pilot whale, in all of its beauty, complexity, and capacity for suffering.

We hope for a day when the ‘grindadráp’ will end and all Faroese people will find new and harmless ways of engaging with pilot whales. Perhaps a first step is to engender a curiosity to understand and really know these complex, sentient, and social creatures, not as objects to be consumed or exploited, but as part of our shared marine heritage that deserves our reverence and respect.