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Japan is leaving the Whaling Commission to start commercial whaling – and it is a big deal

On 26 December 2018, the Japanese government announced its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission...

A new opportunity to stop Japan’s whaling?

Last Wednesday, the European Parliament voted ‘yes’ to the EU-Japan free trade agreement (or Economic...

No EU-Japan trade agreement unless Japan stops whaling!

When we launched our campaign in March 2016, calling on the EU to make whaling...

Whales and whalers – how and why WDC is fighting to keep the whaling ban

Today, representatives of the world’s governments are gathered in Florianopolis, Brazil to discuss whales, whalers...

El detrás de escena de la conservación de ballenas y delfines

La lucha por la conservación de ballenas y delfines rara vez es tan glamorosa o...

A peek behind the scenes of whale and dolphin conservation

Fighting for whale and dolphin protection is rarely as glamorous as it might sound. Much...

What happened at the recent International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee meeting?

More than 200 scientists from more than 30 countries recently gathered together at the 67a...

¿Qué ocurrió en la última reunión del Comité Científico de la Comisión Ballenera Internacional?

Más de 200 científicos de más de 30 países se reunieron en la reunión 67a...

“SJ71” – a Commerson’s dolphin of Southern Patagonia

WDC continuously supports (since 1996) a project on one of the less known dolphin species, the Commerson’s dolphins, in Southern Patagonia, Argentina, since 1996. With 21 years, this is one of the worldwide longest term projects on a dolphin species which is important to know the life history of a dolphin population and know any impact that could affect them. Using photos, 84 individuals were already identified –and included into a photoidentification catalog- in Bahía San Julián. This non-invasive technique allows researchers to collect valuable information on each individual dolphin such as number of calves in a mother’s life, relationship among individuals, among others.

“SJ71” –as it is named by the scientists- is one of these identified dolphins. She is a female and she had two calves since 2012. Last January, she was seen swimming with her last calf which is one year old.

Unfortunately, yesterday the Argentine Coast Guard reported that a Commerson’s dolphin was found stranded and dead. When we received a picture of this dolphin, we were able to identify “SJ71”. She was sighted for the first time in January 2011 and since then she was resighted every year in Bahía San Julián. 

Even though we are waiting to do the proper analysis of “SJ71” to try to determine the cause of death, the main anthropogenic problem that this species faces is to be incidentally caught in fishing gear, especially gill nets which is a lethal trap for dolphins and whales but also for sea lions, sea birds (including penguins), fishes, etc.

For all of us who study these incredible and beautiful animals it is a very sad day but, of course, this increases our commitment to go on working for the conservation of every whale, dolphin and porpoise.