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I've just downloaded my copy from Amazon, looks very intersesting.





The Sounding of the Whale is a remarkable book, an astounding piece of research that presents subtle, original arguments in a stylish and readable (if sometimes mannered) prose. Burnett's subject is the development of whale science in the 20th century, which takes in the work of zoologists, paleontologists, biological oceanographers, ecologists, neurologists and mathematicians, among others. The individual scientists are brought to life and their work is beautifully contextualised. Burnett shows us the many ties that bound whale scientists, disastrously, to the whaling industry. He also does a wonderful job of placing the science of cetology in its institutional settings, both academic and political





The Council of State has introduced a ban on the import of dolphins for entertainment purposes but has rejected a ban on them being kept in captivity, which means that current captive animals won't have to be released.


The Liberal Green deputy Isabelle Chevalley has managed to ban the import of dolphins into Switzerland with the help of Sea Shepherd Switzerland and the Swiss Cetacean Society-SCS.


Sea Shepherd Switzerland and the Swiss Cetacean Society-SCS have actively supported the Liberal Green deputy Isabelle Chevalley in her Swiss parliamentary motion calling for the ban on the import of dolphins into Switzerland.


On the 12th of this month, the Liberal Green deputy Isabelle Chevalley provided members of parliament with a briefing document drawn up jointly with Sea Shepherd Switzerland and the Swiss Cetacean Society.


On the 13th of March, following her convincing debate, the deputy succeeded in having her motion on the ban carried with 112 votes for and 60 against.


The Council of States then enforced the ban on the import of dolphins into Switzerland, but nevertheless rejected a ban on their captivity. The two associations are concerned by the fate of three dolphins, a mother and her two youngsters who are still being held in captivity in Switzerland’s sole dolphinarium, the  Connyland. This park organised a rave party last November, following which two dolphins died, raising the death toll of dolphins in Switzerland to eight in only three years.


The Connyland will reopen on the 31st of March and the show with the three dolphins will resume.



Direct from the Sea Shpherd website:


Another species on the edge that is being monitored very closely. I'll be keeping everything crossed that numbers are up...



Wildlife conservationists will trawl the length and breadth of Brahmaputra and its tributaries for assessing the status of gangetic dolphin population from the first week of February.


Guwahati-based biodiversity conservation NGO,Aaranyak, in association with state forest department, will conduct the survey covering the Brahmaputra right from the Assam-Arunachal border to the Indo-Bangladesh border in Dhubri. Also the Brahmaputra's tributaries - Lohit,Dibang, Siang, Subansiri and Kulsi- will be covered in the survey.


"We will be covering a distance of about 1,100 km of Brahmaputra and its tributaries for the survey. This time, we will also attempt to go as far upstream of the tributaries in Arunachal Pradesh. By March we will be come out with the findings of our survey," Abdul Wakid, Aaranyak's Gangetic Dolphin Research and Conservation Programme (GDRCP) head, informed. In the 2008 survey by Aaranyak, 264 gangetic dolphins were found in a stretch of 1,031 km of Brahmaputra river system. The population was estimated around 250 in 2005.





Sorry for the long break in updates, the New Year is always a bit of a crazy time with the previous years data needing to be sorted and validated. There will be a report, which will head over to Defra probably sometime around April, then hopefully I'll be able to post up some of the main points of 2011's strandings up here shortly after that.


And more dolphin related news, some interesting interspecies behaviour for you all!








Source with interesting write up:


In this post  Fin whale in Co Sligo Ireland I mentioned that a dolphin had been discovered in a salt walter lake in Ireland, sadly according to the IWDG's website, it looks like the animal didn't find it's way back to sea after all.


IWDG have received a report from local whale watch expert, Colin Barnes, that he has just seen a dead dolphin washed up on the island on Lough Hyne this morning 1/12/11. He described it as a medium sized animal, and can confirm that it is a common dolphin.


This sighting brings to a close the mystery as to whether this animal succeeded in returning to open ocean. Alas, this outcome was predictable, and is yet another reminder that cetaceans are at high risk when they venture out of their "normal" habitats. Lough Hyne can now claim another first, as it can now add to its first cetacean sighting, its first cetacean stranding; albeit of the same individual.


Thanks to everyone on IWDG's facebook page who took a big interest in this story.




This is great news, these animals have the heavy burden of being in the most endangered mammals group.


Bangladesh is declaring three areas in the southern Sundarbans mangrove forest as dolphin sanctuaries to protect freshwater dolphins, officials say.


"We have decided to declare Dhangmari, Chandpai and Dudhmukhi areas of eastern Sundarbans as dolphin sanctuaries so that these mammals can survive in a safe environment," Tapan Kumar Dey, a senior wildlife conservation official, told the BBC.




Good Halloween title for you there!


Apart from recording stranded cetaceans, we are also linked to various research project. One is run by Dr Adrian Glover here at the museum and in simple terms he studies what lives off whale bone that has sunk to the bottom of the sea.



Bone-eating ‘zombie’ worms may be good at keeping out of sight, living off dead whales in the darkness of the sea floor, but scientists have found out how to detect them, even if there’s no trace of their bodies or a few million years have gone by!




There is an interesting artical about it on the front page but here is a link


Happy anniversary!


I guess in an ideal world groups like this wouldn't have to exist at all, let alone to have to be around for 21 years. However as they are needed it's great when you get groups that are both professional and caring.


The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) will celebrate its 21st anniversary at a special banquet on Saturday 19 November at the Grand Hotel in Malahide, Co Dublin.


The evening will consist of a three-course meal and entertainment including music and dancing, a film show of IWDG activities over the years, an international guest speaker (to be announced) exploring the impact of the IWDG on cetacean recording.


The marine wildlife conservation group's AGM will take place earlier in the day at the Grand Hotel at 2pm.

Tickets for the banquet are €60 - book early as places are limited to 120. To book contact Shay Fennelly at or 087 642 8902.


Overnight accommodation is also available at the Grand Hotel with special rates for banquet guests of €90 for a single room and €110 for a double/twin room. To book contact Hilary Fogarty, quoting IWDG as the reference, at 01 845 0000, 01 816 8281 or





You don't have to look deep into your hearts to know that keeping these animals in tanks just feels wrong. I think the caption on the picture says it all really.





In a new study, nearly a year in the making, former SeaWorld trainers Jeffrey Ventre, MD and John Jett, Ph.D, take us deep behind the scenes of Marine parks and their ability to provide environments adequate for keeping killer whales alive in captivity.

Drs Ventre and Jett introduce us to detailed observations and strong statistical calculations that add up to an abundance of evidence that captivity kills orcas, usually at a young age… and that stresses, social tensions and poor health are chronic issues in marine park facilities.


Interview with Jeff Ventre:


Full report:


It's not unusal for bottlenose dolphins to attack harbour porpoises, it's something we've known about for years and is often their largest cause of death here in the UK. I wanted to put the link up for this as I know it's not very commonly known about outside scientific cetacean research circles and also as it's very rare to get pictures.


It had two badly broken jawbones, fractured ribs on both sides and a broken scapula, evidence of a sadistic attack. Worst of all, the female porpoise, which had been seen twice before and identified by researchers in Monterey Bay, was lactating when she was killed, according to marine biologists.


It was a clear case of what scientists are calling "porpicide," the deliberate slaying of a harbor porpoise by a surprising and, to most people, unlikely culprit.


"We suspect that it was a bottlenose dolphin," said Bill Keener, a researcher for Golden Gate Cetacean Research.

The brutal battering wasn't an isolated incident. Scientists say there has been a dramatic increase in dolphin attacks on harbor porpoises along the California coast over the past few years, including an attack Wednesday off Half Moon Bay.


porpoise bnd attack.jpg

Read more:






You can catch up with this animals day to day adventures and see some amazing photos of it in photographer Ashala Tylors blog.


Its been an amazing 50 days for the animal, after attempts to get it back out to sea with killer whale song and noise failed. The scientists gave up and decided the best course of action was to simply monitor it.


I love these stories as its often the human behaviour that is the most interesting!



Surely, no river whale beforehand has been so showered with so much affection, especially since scientists have abandoned attempts to drive the whale to sea. People have swum alongside the whale; they've also canoed and kayaked with the leviathan.

She has been serenaded not only by ukulele but by flute and violin. Poems have been written about and for the whale. Song and chants have been issued and prayers read in the hope that Mama will leave before the water level drops much farther, placing her in jeopardy.


grey whale.jpg



Link to: Photo and quote



SeaWorld Orlando is preparing to open a new medical facility for stranded dolphins, two decades after the marine park stopped taking in wild dolphins that washed ashore because of fears that viruses could spread to its captive-animal populations.


In the southeastern corner of the park, far out of sight of the more than 5 million people who visit SeaWorld every year, crews are putting the finishing touches on the complex — a kind of quarantined dolphin hospital, with its own water-filtration and sewage systems, food-preparation areas and employee showers.


The facility's 40,000-gallon pool is large enough to hold cetaceans as large as a 13-foot pilot whale or as many as five bottlenose dolphins at once. It has been built on the piece of land that once held stables for Clydesdale horses that belonged to Anheuser-Busch Cos., SeaWorld's former owner.






Beautiful new book from Charles 'Flip' Niclin now available form Amazon!  Among Giants: A Life with Whales.


"This is not only a book of extraordinary pictures, which it is, and the story of an extraordinary life, which it is; this is the story of the man who opened the window on a world we barely knew existed before his work. A compelling, engaging adventure story, well told. I can't recommend it highly enough." -Christopher Moore, author of Fluke"



Humpback whale female with cooperating males around her. She just slapped her pectoral on the surface which caused the bubbles. ©Flip Nicklin, from Among Giants.



Nicklin hit the ocean swimming. His father Chuck, an underwater cinematographer, naturalist and one-time San Diego dive shop owner, had taught his young son to dive by the age of eleven. The elder Nicklin provided the impetus for his son’s cetacean photographic habit, in 1963 when a picture of Chuck riding astride a Bryde’s whale was published in a number of national magazines and caught the eye of National Geographic photographer Bates Littlehales who wanted to swim with the whales.


Report and more info from: