Friday, 3 March 2017

A world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free

In today's post, we take a look at Whale & Dolphin Conservation, an organisation undertaking some amazing work, helping some amazing animals.

Minke can sometimes be seen off Dorset's Jurassic Coast.
Being situated along Dorset's Jurassic Coast, many H&H staffers are used to seeing dolphins and porpoises … you may even be lucky enough to see Minke and Long-finned pilot whales, around the Lyme Bay area. In the last few years, some of our local harbours have had 'summer residencies,' with a dolphin or two deciding to stay and enjoy the warm seas and watch our antics.

So, in a change to spotlighting a land-based charity, we thought we'd focus on a charity that deals with marine mammals. Dedicated to the protection of cetaceans throughout the world's oceans, Whale & Dolphin Conservation (WDC) has become a true authority on these animals.

The critically endangered Vaquita.
WDC aims to make the world a place where every dolphin, whale, and porpoise is safe and free. Established in 1987, it has grown to become a leading NGO in this field, operating globally from offices in the UK, North America, Latin America, Australia and Germany.

As with all charities, its work is pretty varied, and, aside from the usual campaigns to engage the public and raise awareness, it carries out vital field work and research, as well as education and outreach programmes to ensure that people are aware of the threats faced by these animals. Public awareness is vital, of course, but so is communicating the science behind its work, and a large part of WDC's work involves advising governments on the latest scientific findings, and fighting attempts to restart commercial whaling, stopping the practice of keeping cetaceans in captivity, banning the trade in whale meat, and managing marine environments to create protected areas … enough to keep them pretty busy, as you can imagine.

A Blue Whale – Balaenoptera musculus. Looks pretty musculus to me.
WDC Kidzone. Not just for kids.
Unsurprisingly, WDC's work covers many areas, so there's no better place to explore its work, and see its latest projects in action, than on the WDC website. You can also learn about the 80-plus species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise that make up the cetacean 'family' – from the highly endangered, 1.4m Vaquita, to the mind-blowingly enormous 29m Blue Whale. If you've children, checkout the WDC Kidzone … not only is it a great introduction to the issues confronting our seas and cetaceans, but there are also plenty of fun facts and activities. In fact, it's a pretty good place for adults to learn stuff, too.

Download your own 
colour-and-keep mobile!
For all you teachers out there, you can download resources and activities for your students, too – from the award-winning Dolphin Diploma initiative, to colouring sheets, cutout-and-keep mobiles, and education packs.

Of course, all charities need supporters, and there are plenty of ways you can help the WDC to help these animals. From whale or dolphin adoptions, to sponsored walks, swims (of course), and even an Icelandic trek, to name a few. Or, of course, if you're more of an 'armchair participant,' you can make a donation to help WDC. And no charity would be complete without an online shop.

If you're more of a 'days out' person, then the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay should most definitely be on your bucket list. From land-based dolphin watching, wildlife walks, and other events and activities, to an interactive exhibition that lets you control dolphin and river cams … all without getting your feet wet! There's plenty of gifts, too, and a cafĂ© so you can refuel … or why not check out the recommended places to stay, and make an adventure of it! You can even volunteer and help with the Centre's vital work. In the words of Simon King OBE;
"Scotland is one of the best land-based dolphin-watching hot spots in the world"
… and there's nowhere better placed for a spot of cetacean spotting than the Scottish Dolphin Centre.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news and goings-on at Whale & Dolphin Conservation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

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