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Spout Spotters: Boater Safety Around Whales Online Course Launches

After countless hours behind the computer, bountiful snacks, and a few stress relieving walks with...
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...
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Stream to Sea: Orca Action Month 2022

This June was an exceptionally busy and exciting Orca Month, starting with a somewhat surprising...
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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...

It’s Time To Breach The Snake River Dams

The Snake River dams were controversial even before they were built.  While they were still...
Save the whale. Save the world.

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins, and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
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Five Facts About Orcas

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are one of the most recognizable and popular species...
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Meet the 2022 Interns: Alexi Archer

I am thrilled to welcome Alexi to WDC as the newest member of our Marine...

Harbour porpoises on the move, or just especially elusive?

The past few months have been significant for rare sightings of some species of whales and dolphins (north Pacific right whales off the west coast of the US, a grey whale in Namibia – the first ever sighting of the species in the southern hemisphere, and common dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea) – now however it’s the turn of their smaller cousin, the harbour porpoise.

Researchers surveying in the northern Aegean Sea (which lies between Greece and Turkey – see map) have sighted what they believe to be the the first confirmed sightings of live harbour porpoises in Aegean waters since 1997.

Thought to be extinct in the Mediterranean since the 19th century, there have only been two live sightings of this species in the area (one group in 1993 and one lone individual in 1997) and further documentation of several dead stranded animals on Greek and Turkish coasts each year. The researchers were treated to sightings of four groups of porpoises – and perhaps many more recored on their underwater acoustic equipment – a first for Turkish Aegean waters and the first in over 16 years in the Mediterranean.

There is some speculation that these animals are actually part of the endangered and genetically distinct sub-species of Black Sea harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena relicta) and have travelled to the Aegean from the Black Sea. However, there is still the possibility that a Mediterranean sub-population exists. 

If one thing is for sure, whales, dolphins and porpoises continue to surprise us!