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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...

Whales and dolphins have flippin’ awesome support bubbles

Friends and family all get involved in bringing up the younger generation of whales and dolphins.

Losing the childcare provided by our extended families, childminders, nurseries and schools has put pressure on many families. We rely on these support networks to take care of our young while we do what we need to do to provide food and security, and socialise. Looking after children that aren’t our own is common in human society, but is not the case for most species. Whales and dolphins are, however, an exception.

Pod of dolphins in Moray Firth

Whales and dolphins are amazing - your donation will help us keep them safe.

Pilot whales - community living

It takes a village to raise a pilot whale. They live in multi-generational families of 24 to 48 whales and calves regularly swim with male and female adults, other than their parents. This shared parenting is a sign of a very tightly bonded society. It might be that by spending time with different adults, the youngsters are learning how to behave within their community.

It takes a village to raise a pilot whale © Andrew Sutton
It takes a village to raise a pilot whale © Andrew Sutton

Sperm whale babysitters

These deep divers operate a kind of babysitting circle, taking it in turns to look after the young whales while the rest of the group is hunting in the depths. Female sperm whales will even suckle babies who are not their own, leaving Mum free to forage. A group that protects each other’s young will grow bigger meaning more whales to look out for orcas.

Orcas - family is everything

Granny plays a vital role in orca society. Orcas are one of only five species known to go through the menopause (the others being belugas, narwhals, short-finned pilot whales and humans). Orcas experience menopause at around 45 and can live to 90 so once they are no longer able to have babies, they have a lot of life left to pass on knowledge and help look after the younger generations. While Mum is diving for food, baby stays at the surface where Granny can babysit. Research has revealed that an orca calf will be four times more likely to die within the next two years if their grandmother has died.

Group of orcas off Kamchatka, Russia
Orca group © FEROP

Dolphin day care

Dolphins babysit for each other. Male dolphins have been seen overseeing groups of juvenile dolphins and older brothers and sisters will take care of their siblings - we think this might be a way of teaching them to be parents. Baby dolphins have been seen interacting with other youngsters in ‘playpens’ created by a ring of protective adults. Dolphins will even babysit dolphins of another species. In the Bahamas, female spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins hang out together and even look after each other’s kids.

The more I learn about whales and dolphins, the more in awe of them I become and the more determined to protect them. Thank you for your support.

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