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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...

The mystery of dolphins & breaching

The bottlenose dolphin is possibly the most socially active of the dolphin species that we get in the chilly waters of the Moray Firth and North East Coast of Scotland and many people that visit this area want to see the dolphins doing one thing – breaching or jumping clear out of the water. This highly energetic activity uses up a lot of calories and in nature very little in the way of reserves can afford be wasted…it must mean something or be important for the dolphin to do this. 

Most dolphins are of course highly social and use the equivalent of our “body language” a lot to demonstrate or get across to another individual a meaning or intention. Breaching can be part of a hunting technique – to herd or scare fish into a specific area but at this time of year, high summer, we see a lot of breaching and highly energetic behaviour that seems to be more personal in nature. Social bonding is very important in cetacean culture and some of the breaching activity is likely to be re-establishing social bonds or is perhaps sexual in nature – it is very difficult to tell in a lot of cases but whatever is going on with the two young males in the photo above – it certainly is spectacular and wonderful to witness in the wild, open sea – where every whale and dolphin belongs.