Book and boat launch promote protection for porpoises, whales and dolphins

Boris Culik’s exhaustive research and careful editing have delivered a worthy addition to our baseline knowledge of the amazing creatures known as the odontocetes. But these toothed whales and dolphins need laws and regulations to protect them, and those must also have teeth. A new book has been published today by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/CMS).
 

Boris Culik’s exhaustive research and careful editing have delivered a worthy addition to our baseline knowledge of the amazing creatures known as the odontocetes. But these toothed whales and dolphins need laws and regulations to protect them, and those must also have teeth. A new book has been published today by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/CMS).

The book by Boris Culik compiles the newest information on 72 toothed whale species. Our planet’s whales, porpoises and dolphins face more threats today than ever before in history. For the past four decades, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been saving animals in crisis around the world. Today, much of this important work takes place in, on and around the waters of our ocean planet.

Well documented dangers such as entanglement in outmoded fishing gear, marine habitat destruction and debris have been joined by new and emerging challenges including ocean noise pollution, collisions with high-speed vessels and the looming threat of global climate change which, scientists assure us, is already affecting breeding, feeding and migratory patterns of species including the toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises covered in this timely and incisive review.

Historically, one of the greatest threats to both the welfare and conservation status of these marine mammals has been commercial hunting, a cruel and unsustainable practice that still continues today. From our international headquarters and 15 country and regional offices around the world, IFAW is working to end the killing of whales, dolphins and porpoises for commercial purposes. 

We are also pioneering practical solutions to the many other challenges confronting these animals. We are joined in this work by more than one million supporters worldwide and are proud to stand alongside the United Nations Environment Programme and the other fine organizations that have contributed to the publication of this new book. Since my own early post-doctoral work on small cetaceans at the University of Kiel, I have believed sound science is the soil in which policies to protect marine species must be rooted.

Boris Culik’s exhaustive research and careful editing have delivered a worthy addition to our baseline knowledge of the amazing creatures known as the odontocetes.  But these toothed whales and dolphins need laws and regulations to protect them, and those must also have teeth. In several days time, IFAW's state-of-the-art sailing vessel, Song of the Whale will embark on a research cruise in the North Sea to contribute to our understanding of harbor porpoises and their habitat.

Ultimately, information from this unique research should help improve designation of habitat areas and other measures to protect this small cetacean species. IFAW is delighted to support the creation of this new volume and excited about our ongoing work, on the water and in the halls of government, to improve protections for the species it covers.

We hope both will lead to better understanding and enhanced protection of toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises worldwide. For more about the book ODONTOCETES – click here.

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Experts

Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
IFAW Japan Representative
IFAW Japan Representative
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales
Robbie Marsland, Regional Director, United Kingdom
Regional Director, United Kingdom