Homes for whales and dolphins
Protecting the places where whales and dolphins live is vital to ensuring their future. WDC's goal is to help design and create large ‘safe havens’ or Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) which protect critical habitat for vulnerable and endangered populations. Your support has already helped with the creation of a new network of reserves in Australia.
Act right now to save the right whale
With fewer than 500 remaining, the North Atlantic right whale is on the brink of extinction. The biggest threat to these animals was - and still is - man. Right whale populations were depleted to near extinction by whaling - they were slow moving whales that lived close to the shore and floated when killed, so they became known as the “right whale” to hunt.
We have to ACT RIGHT NOW to pressure the US government to quickly introduce regulations that will help save the species!
Save a species - the New Zealand dolphin
The New Zealand dolphin is dying out, from 30,000 to just 7,000 dolphins in 40 years. One population living around the North Island has less than 100 individuals! But, the New Zealand government can save them by creating a sanctuary free from the fishing nets that are killing the dolphins. Your voice counts – email the New Zealand Prime Minister today.... before it's too late.
Success! - turbine application withdrawn
An application to install tidal turbines in a key habitat for endangered orcas off Vancouver Island, British Columbia has been withdrawn. This was in part due to the rapid response of our supporters in ensuring the authorities knew of your opposition to the plan.
Hebrides Marine Reserve
A huge thank you to everyone who signed our petition. The response was tremendous and we received 36,736 signatures asking the Scottish Government to ensure that whales, dolphins and porpoises are given the protection they need and deserve. We will present the petition to Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for rural Affairs and Environment on Thursday 13th December. Thank you again.
Marine Protected Areas around the world
WDC is working to have 12 Protected Areas and Networks created for whales and dolphins around the world in the next few years. Find out more using our interactive map below.
Choose a Protected Area or Network
The above interactive map shows 12 key whale and dolphin habitats that WDC believes are deserving of special protection. Click on the dots for further information about each one.
Hebrides Marine Reserve and Cetacean Critical Habitat Network
Size: 9571mi2/24,789km2. This proposed marine reserve is one of the most important habitats for whales and dolphins in all European waters. This natural paradise is home to minke whales; Risso's, common and bottlenose dolphins; harbour porpoises; as well as basking sharks and golden eagles.
Alboran Sea MPA and Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance
Size: 30,618mi2/79,300km2. This proposed marine protected area is home to the most diverse whale and dolphin habitat in the Mediterranean. Species found include pilot, sperm, fin and Cuvier's beaked whales as well as four species of dolphins, and a group of about 30 orcas. This is a prime area for seabirds, marine turtles and sharks.
Costa Rica Dome
Size: 375,000mi2/970,000km2. This proposed MPA largely in international high seas waters would protect one of the richest tropical marine ecosystems — a rare area where blue whales both feed and mate. Sperm whales and various tropical dolphins also live here.
Saya de Malha Banks MPA
Size: 33,400mi2/86,500km2. These are the largest marine banks in the world, but due to their location, mainly on the high seas, one of the least studied. This marine protected area proposal includes blue and humpback whale habitat while sperm whales and various tropical dolphins inhabit the deeper surrounding waters.
Southeast Shoal of the Grand Bank MPA
Size: 173,993mi2/450,640km2. Situated on the Grand Bank in the western Atlantic, this proposed area would protect a key habitat for young fish and more than a dozen species of whales and dolphins, including blue whales, humpback and sperm whales, northern bottlenose whales, pilot whales, orcas and various dolphin species and harbour porpoises.
AGOA (Sanctuary of the French Antilles)
Size: 55,550mi2/144,000km2. This recently declared sanctuary in the French Caribbean is proposed for expansion to Dutch and other Caribbean waters as well as for higher protection levels. Species found include breeding humpbacks, sperm whales, pantropical spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, false killer whales and pygmy killer whales.
South American River Dolphin Protected Area Network (SARDPAN)
There are many protected areas in the tropical forests of the Amazon-Orinoco river basins but few offer specific protection to river dolphins. This initiative aims to create a network of highly protected zones to focus on dolphin conservation. Species protected would include Amazon river dolphins, Bolivian dolphins, tucuxi and Guiana dolphins.
West Australian Cetacean Marine Sanctuary Network
Australia is developing a network of marine reserves around its coast but, to date, the government-proposed highly protected zones for whales and dolphins are too few and far between. The blue, humpback, sperm and southern right whales, as well as the endemic Australian snubfin dolphin, need critical habitat protection here.
Protected Area Network for Cetacean Diversity
In Bangladesh, 19.5 linear mi/32km of channels in the Sundarbans mangrove, a World Heritage site, as well as a 1158 mi2/3000km2 offshore area, are in need of network protection. They have been identified as key habitats for eight species of dolphin, including Ganges river dolphins, Irrawaddy dolphins and the Indo-Pacific finless porpoises, as well as offshore minke whales, pantropical spotted and spinner dolphins.
New Zealand Hector's Dolphin Protected Area Network
Several existing protected areas have helped to ensure a future for this endangered native New Zealand dolphin, also known as the Hector's dolphin, but they haven’t reversed the decline. The proposed New Zealand Dolphin Sanctuary would ban all gill nets and trawl nets from key parts of the coastline in waters up to 100m deep.
Commander Islands and Kamchatka Cetacean Reserve Network
Size: 13,372mi2/34,633km2. Currently the largest MPA in Russia, the Commander Islands State Biosphere Reserve is proposed for expansion and special management zones for whales. These cold North Pacific waters are home to orcas, sperm whales, fin whales, minke whales and Baird's beaked whales, as well as Dall's and harbour porpoises.
Ross Sea Marine Reserve
Size: 249,817mi2/647,194km2. This proposed reserve in Antarctica would protect the largest remaining pristine continental shelf ecosystem on Earth. Species found include Antarctic minke whales and three ecotypes of orcas which may some day be declared three species. There are also nearly a million pairs of Adélie penguins (38% of the world total); tens of thousands of seals; and numerous fishes, amphipods, sponges and molluscs that live only in the Ross Sea.