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Mindful conservation – why we need a new respect for nature

'We should look at whales and dolphins as the indigenous people of the seas -...
A dolphin called Arnie with a shell

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

Did you know that dolphins have unique personalities?

We all have personalities, and between the work Christmas party and your family get-together, perhaps...
Leaping harbour porpoise

The power of harbour porpoise poo

We know we need to save the whale to save the world. Now we are...
Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

Meet Holly, she’s an incredible orca leader

Let me tell you the story of an awe-inspiring orca with a fascinating family story...
Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
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...

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.