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Why protect whales and dolphins?

Whales and dolphins are remarkable. But why are they so important? Why do we need to end captivity, stop whaling, prevent deaths in fishing gear, and protect their homes, the oceans and rivers of the world? What is so special about whales and dolphins?
Whale eye

We have a moral obligation and a personal need to protect the culture and rights of whales and dolphins

  1. Whales and Dolphins are just like us.
  2. Like us, whales and dolphins are intelligent beings, capable of feeling joy and suffering pain.  Like us, they live in complex social groups, pass on culture through generations, engage in play and even grieve the loss of family and friends. Understanding and appreciating this social complexity is essential to ensure that whale and dolphin populations not only survive, but thrive.

  3. We need to save whales to save the planet.

Planet Earth needs healthy oceans. And healthy oceans need whales. It is not enough to conserve vulnerable species. We need to restore their ocean environment and allow populations to recover to levels that existed before industrial scale whaling and fishing devastated the oceans.

These reasons are at the heart of WDC. We are working to:

  1. Integrate the ecological role of  whales and dolphins into global policies on biodiversity, climate change, environment, conservation, fisheries and MPAs (Marine Protected Areas).
  2. Establish the recognition of whale and dolphin cultures into global and local conservation policy.

For an example of the kind of work we are doing in this field, please download and read our free report: The Ecological Whale.

We can only do this with your support.  With your help we can:

  • Undertake much needed research.
  • Campaign to expose the threats facing whales and dolphins.
  • Give a voice to whales and dolphins when advising policy makers locally, regionally and globally.



Whales and dolphins have culture and live in societies

There are compelling reasons why whales and dolphins are special and deserving of our respect, and protection. They have an intrinsic value; which WDC believes should be recognized in law.

There is clear scientific evidence that, like humans, many whales and dolphins are highly intelligent.

Just like us:

  • Different species of dolphins can recognize themselves in mirrors
  • They socializes and  live in complex societies
  • They play for fun
  • They grieve for their dead
  • They pass cultural information between individuals.

Some species possess brain cells known as spindle neurons, believed to be associated with empathy and emotional intelligence. People used to think that these cells were only found in the brains of humans and some other primates.

Some individuals even have very specific roles to play within their communities as leaders, innovators, and even historians – just like us. And, like us, they have the right to live in a world where they are safe and free.

The more we discover, the more we are inspired and humbled. The more we learn, the more our human-centric view of the world is challenged as we realise our responsibilities towards other intelligent beings with whom we share our planet.

We hope that one day we will celebrate whale and dolphin rights being recognized in law. When they are; whaling will not be allowed, and no human will be able own a whale or dolphin, or cause them harm.

To help us achieve this, WDC played a key role in developing a ‘declaration’, which you can sign to show your support.

Save the whale, save the planet, save ourselves

The abundance of whales and dolphins and the stability of their societies are integrally tied to the health of the planet, and therefore to our own survival. ‘Save the Whales’ is not just a slogan but a global necessity.

Humans have done enormous damage to the planet including culling millions of whales and wiping out up to 90% of some populations.  Yet few people, let alone governments, are aware that recovering whale populations can help fight the damage we cause. Whales play a vital role in the marine ecosystem where they help provide up to 50% of our oxygen, combat climate change and sustain fish stocks.

Whales recycle and move nutrients to surface waters where they  act as the oceans’ gardeners, fertilizing the phytoplankton on which our planet depends.

Even in death, whales sustain life.  When whales die naturally they sink to the seabed, where they become mini-ecosystems sustaining all manner of marine life. Taking huge amounts of carbon with them to the sea bed, whale carcasses fight climate change. Researchers estimate that as a direct result of whale hunting, large whales now store approximately nine million tons less carbon than before large-scale whaling.

How whales support the marine ecosystem
How whales support the marine ecosystem