• Don Lichterman

Coffs Harbour, Dolphin Wingmen, Dr Clegg, What a Whale of A Week and Your Dolphin Outlook this week!

Weak, starving and undernourished, Southern Resident orcas are on the edge of extinction, and females are miscarrying at a terrifying rate. Only 76 of these endangered orcas remain.

We need to raise $80,000 during our 2019 Summer Membership Drive to help protect these orcas, vulnerable whales and our oceans. YOU can be a part of our work to make that happen.


Renew your membership now with a gift of $10 or more before midnight on June 30 and help us push through measures to help orcas and the world’s oceans recover >>


We are actively working with partners throughout the Pacific Northwest to develop sweeping recovery goals and bold action to recover the salmon that these orcas desperately need to survive.


With support from Wavemakers like you, we’re calling on key decision makers to:

  1. Prioritize and accelerate habitat restoration for Chinook salmon.

  2. Increase and maximize beneficial spill over the lower Snake and Columbia River dams and support actions to remove the four lower Snake River dams.

  3. Increase and secure funding for pollution prevention and clean-up programs.

  4. Commit to a noise reduction goal with immediate actions to reduce harmful noise.

We can’t stop now though – maintaining our momentum depends on achieving the goal to keep critically endangered Southern Resident orcas from disappearing for good and protect the world’s oceans.

Study Discovers Dolphin Bachelors Use Wingmen

Emily Peterson from In defense of Animals writes, Do male dolphins have the equivalent of a “wingman?” According to a recent study, the answer is yes! Male dolphins in South Australia have been found to work with other males to court potential mates – a cooperative behavior that is virtually impossible for dolphins in captivity.


In the wild, male dolphins form social groups with other males, typically with those in their bloodline, to increase their chances with “the ladies,” and ultimately, reproduction. Lead researcher, Dr. Fernando Diaz-Aguirre explains that the male dolphins in south Australia’s Coffin Bay might form these groups with relatives because, “the groups clearly tend to favour relationships based on blood relations.” Simply put, dolphins, similar to humans, feel the most comfortable with family!


Sadly, males in captivity are unable to form these dynamic social groups with their relatives. Instead, their ability to control their reproduction is stolen from them while they are held in tanks with random groups of dolphins.


Captive females are also denied any control over their socialization and are often forced to undergo the invasive and unpleasant procedure of artificial insemination. Unable to form natural social groups or control their reproduction, dolphins in captivity are deprived of two essential and vital aspects of their lives.


Please consider helping to support our critical advocacy work for dolphins and whales. 


And, Sarah Lucas at Action for Dolphins reports how it has been an exciting few weeks for the five dolphins currently residing at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park. UK expert Dr Isabella Clegg has been observing their behaviours to see how the dolphins might fare in a sanctuary environment.

Dr Clegg has a background in animal behaviour and welfare, and a Masters in Marine Mammal Science. As part of her PhD, Dr Clegg developed her own cetacean welfare index, the C-Well Index.

Dr Clegg conducting her observationsDolphins are sentient and emotional beings. A number of welfare considerations need to be taken into account to ensure they can thrive in a sanctuary. 

Dr Clegg has been observing each dolphin’s individual behaviours and personalities. The data she collects will be vital for transitioning them to sea pens.

Please help to continue this Australian-first study.

Support the study to help relocate five dolphins to a sanctuary


Dr Clegg speaking to NBN News about the animal welfare assessment


Dr Clegg has experience working with sanctuary projects around the world. Her assessment is a vital step in the feasibility study to building Australia’s first dolphin sanctuary.

We have potential locations and designs ready for the sanctuary, as well as input from animal welfare experts around the world. It’s all coming together, but there are still tests to complete before we can try to build it.

Please click here to support the feasibility study to build a dolphin sanctuary in Coffs Harbour






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Don.Lichterman@DonLichterman.com

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