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.

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Humpback whale (Megaloptera novanglie).
© 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.

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:

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  • 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?

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