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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...
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...

Conservation in action – working on an international stage to protect whales and dolphins

Unlike us humans, whales, dolphins and porpoises don’t entertain the concept of borders. For them it’s not the artificial construct of imaginary barriers that prevents them from living their life as they please, for them it’s all just one big connected ocean (or river). For those species that migrate, whether it’s a journey from one hemisphere to another or the fact that in their daily lives they could be in the waters of one country in the morning and another in the afternoon, it’s the barriers that we humans place on their freedom that impacts them the most. From bycatch to underwater noise, it is us who pose the biggest restrictions to their day-to-day movements.

There are 38 species of dolphins that live in the ocean.

So what are we doing to try to counter these threats and intrusions? The Convention on Migratory Species (otherwise known as CMS or the Bonn Convention) is an intergovernmental treaty under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Countries (otherwise known as ‘Parties’ – and there’s 130 of them) come together under this ‘umbrella’ to help protect migrating avian, terrestrial and aquatic species by enacting conservation initiatives and collaborating with each other to ensure the threats that wildlife face are addressed. You can imagine therefore that the task is mighty – yet couldn’t be more important!

The 130 member countries come together every three years (at the Conference of the Parties or COP) to evaluate both the conservation status of migrating species and the threats they face and to agree ways to improve the situation for the most threatened species. These measures are then woven into everyday conservation.

I’m currently representing WDC at COP 13 in India to ensure countries are addressing some of the biggest threats facing whales, dolphins and porpoises around the world.

I'm at the CMS meeting to represent whales, dolphins and porpoises
I'm at the CMS meeting to represent whales, dolphins and porpoises

During this week I’ll be pushing for more countries to introduce laws prohibiting the capture of whales and dolphins from the wild for commercial purposes. Although some countries already have appropriate legislation in place, others are sadly lacking.

I’m also working to get action to stop dolphins and small whales ending up on dinner plates. We’ve seen a worrying growth in the numbers of individuals meeting this fate, often after becoming entangled in fishing nets. We need to act with urgency to ensure that populations and even entire species of dolphins do not become extinct. This week, I’ll be championing Atlantic humpback dolphins, one of only two species endemic to Africa, who will be gone from our planet forever if nothing is done to tackle this issue.

A little bit closer to home, we’re looking to address the plight of the Baltic and the Iberian populations of harbour porpoises. Both are facing threats and experiencing a rapid decline in their numbers. Only co-ordinated and collaborative actions can help ensure they survive.

I'm working hard to get protection for porpoises
I'm working hard to get protection for porpoises

I’ve got a jam-packed week ahead and I’m so grateful for the generosity of our supporters. It’s your donations that mean I can attend important meetings, like this one, where decisions are made that can protect and conserve whales, dolphins and porpoises well into the future.

My view of the conference hall where conservation decsions are made
My view of the conference hall where conservation decsions are made

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