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Fossil of new extinct baleen whale discovered in New Zealand

Scientists have discovered a new species of extinct baleen whale after examining a skull and other bones that were discovered on New Zealand’s South Island 30 years ago. Toipahautea waitaki, is estimated to have been around five metres in length and lived around 27.5 million years ago, making it one of the earliest known baleen…

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Bowhead whales sing jazz songs

New research has revealed that not only do bowhead whales have the most diverse song range amongst whales, but that they may be singing their own vast and unique selection of ‘jazz’. Kate Stafford, an oceanographer at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle, studied a large group of the whales, listening in…

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Dolphins in WDC’s adopt a dolphin programme doing well

According to a report published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), with research undertaken by Aberdeen University, around 200 bottlenose dolphins make the Moray Firth and Scottish north east coast their home, and the population is ‘stable’. WDC warmly welcomes this news. The population was at one time estimated to be around 130 dolphins, so this…

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Scientists record first case of infanticide in orcas

For the first time, scientists have recorded an incident in which a male orca deliberately drowned an orca calf from another pod, assisted by his own mother. The mother of the calf tried unsuccessfully to defend her offspring.  While this behaviour has been recorded in other animals and three species of dolphin, it had never…

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Endangered dolphins disappearing from river in Bangladesh

A population of one of the world’s most endangered dolphins is under serious threat in the Halda River, Bangladesh. In the four month period up to February, 17 South Asian river dolphins (also known as the Ganges River dolphin) died in the river and experts are now calling for their home to be declared a sanctuary…

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Rare sighting of sperm whale off Vancouver Island

After an absence of more than three decades, a sperm whale has been heard and seen in Johnstone Strait, a passage of water separating northern Vancouver Island from mainland Canada. This area is renowned as being home to the famous Northern resident population of orcas and while other species are also recorded, the reappearance of…

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What prospects for whales, dolphins and porpoises in 2018?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. Its ‘Red List of Threatened Species’ – known as ‘The Red List’ – is the most comprehensive inventory we have of species at risk. The Red List divides these species into various classes from ‘Data Deficient’…

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Whales go from 'right-handed' to left

Scientist studying blue whale feeding habits have documented a switch from ‘right-hand’ to left when these huge creatures feed. Blue whales are similar to many other creatures when it comes to ‘handeness’ or laterality.  They tend to always favour the right. However, results from a six year study of their behaviour off the coast of…

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