Technical Series No. 24
For 86 per cent of all toothed whale species, entanglement in gillnets, traps, weirs, purse seines, longlines and trawls is resulting in an unsustainably high death toll. This is among the findings of a report published today by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals under the UN Environment Programme (UNEP/CMS).
The report is an encyclopaedia on the 72 species of toothed whales compiled by Professor Boris Culik of Kiel University in Germany and represents the most recent scientific findings on the distribution, migration, behaviour and threats to this suborder of the cetaceans, which includes sperm whales, beaked whales, porpoises and dolphins.
The web version of the report can be accessed here.
Odontocetes: the toothed whales: Distribution, Behaviour, Migration and Threats
The conservation status of the toothed whales has worsened dramatically since 2001. Since then, more species have been listed in the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable and Nearly Threatended, while the Baiji river dolphin, which used to live in the Yangtze River, is now probably extinct. One major threat to toothed whales world wide is entanglement in fishing gear. This alone claimed an unsustainably high death toll and for 86% of all toothed whale species, entanglement and death in gillnets, traps, weirs, purse seines, longlines and trawls poses a major risk. Lack of food and forced dietary shifts due to overfishing pose additional threats to 13 species. This encyclopaedia outlines the most recent findings in many areas of cetacean biology, from genetic work to habitat and dietary preferences, schooling and reactions to human induced noise. It will greatly facilitate the development and implementation of action plans that may help reduce the threats to many whale species.
This reference book by Boris M. Culik, APL professor at Kiel University, Germany, and cetacean biologist for over 20 years, is intended for marine biologists, students and conservationists.
The publication is a joint effort of CMS, ACCOBAMS, ASCOBANS, IUCN, WWF and Loro Parque Foundation.