A humpback whale has been recorded off the coast of Devon, the latest in what is turning out to be a great year for whale and dolphin sightings around the UK coastline.
In a statement to press, Gunnlaugur Gunnlaugsson, the manager of the Hvalfjordur whaling station in Iceland has revealed that the country’s 2015 whale hunt season is now underway.
Reports from the Faroes indicate that a second hunt (or ‘grind’) has taken place there. On June 29th, 20-30 pilot whales were driven into the shore by boats and slaughtered in Hvannasund on the northern island of Vidoy. The first grind of the season occurred on June 6th in Midvagur on the island of Vagar, where at least 154 pilot whales were killed.
The findings of a new government report into the causes of a mass stranding of pilot whales in the Kyle of Durness, Scotland in 2011 have revealed that military exercises in the area at the time were the probable cause of the deaths of 20 whales.
Scientists from the International Whaling Commission have voiced their "grave concern" for the endangered Maui's dolphin, a sub-species of the New Zealand dolphin.
The Japanese government has placed itself at the centre of a potential legal and political storm by saying that it intends to restart scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean despite a new ruling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the body that regulates whale hunting), which states that Japan has failed to prove a case for the continued slaughter of large numbers of whales for so-called scientific research purposes.
Freya, a female orca held captive for 32 years, has died at Marineland, a marine park in Antibes in the south of France.
She had spent almost her entire life in captivity, since being taken from the wild off the coast of Iceland when just one year old.
During her life in confinement she gave birth to several calves. It is not known what caused her death, but in the wild a female orca would be expected for an average of 46 years and possibly much longer.
WDC is continuing to work with Merlin Entertainments in an effort to find a location for a natural sea sanctuary in order to release three belugas currently housed in Merlin’s Chang Feng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai, China. Despite many obstacles and months of work to find a location off the coast of Russia (where the belugas were born in the wild), it has not proved possible to find a suitable location there and the search is now focussing on other potential cold water sites for the sanctuary. Finding the right site for the sanctuary is critical for the welfare of the belugas.
Scientists in the US are trying to discover what caused the death of at least 9 fin whales, the bodies of which have been found in the waters near Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Normally only one or two dead whales are seen every couple of years. One theory is that the whales may have eaten something toxic, such as from a harmful algal bloom. One recovered whale appeared to be an otherwise healthy state.
Fin whales are the second largest whale and classified as endangered.