Whales, dolphins, and porpoises | WWF
© naturepl.com /Doug Perrine / WWF

Whales & Dolphins

There are over 80 species of cetaceans, a group made up of whales, dolphins and porpoises. Despite many protections including a moratorium on whaling since 1986, many species of cetaceans continue to be threatened – with some on the verge of extinction.

Subscribe to WWF

Facebook Twitter Google Plus YouTube Flickr Vimeo

Humpback whale. rel= © Fundación Yubarta

WWF Cetacean Species Action Plan 2012-2020
Whale and Dolphin Highlights

From great whales of the high seas to small freshwater dolphins

Few animals on land or sea inspire such awe as whales and dolphins. Yet relatively few have suffered so severely at human hands.

Today, populations of nearly all the great whales are at depressed levels. This is the result of more than 200 years of unsustainable whaling.

Working to address all threats to cetaceans

WWF's efforts to end uncontrolled commercial whaling is part of a much broader effort to minimise human impacts on all whales and dolphins. Other major threats include marine pollution, climate change, ship strikes, and fisheries by-catch.

Whale news
Seized Shipment of Illegal African Elephant Tusks, Thailand
Customs officials in Suvarnabhumi discover a shipment of African elephant tusks from Mozambique. Suvarnabhumi is a major hub for both wildlife and drug trafficking, Thailand.

05 Oct 2018  | 0 Comments

The 70th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) concluded ...

Sei whale calf diving underwater (Balaenoptera borealis) Azores, North Atlantic

02 Oct 2018  | 0 Comments

Parties to the Standing Committee to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES), have clearly and ...

Learn more

Learn more about the cetacean family or for more detailed information about priority species choose a whale, dolphin, or porpoise from the list:

Make a donation


What is a cetacean?

The word "cetacean" is from the Latin cetus, which means "large sea creature". It refers to the group of marine mammals that includes all whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

Need detailed scientific information?

Check out this book: Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises: A world handbook for cetacean habitat conservation and planning by Erich Hoyt.