Whale Wise is a registered UK charity, dedicated to the protection of marine mammals. We aim to promote a harmonious relationship between humans and whales through scientific research and public engagement.

We study the interactions, both positive and negative, between whales and human activity. By engaging the public with this research, we strive to inform, promote and inspire marine conservation.

How we run

The charity is run day-to-day by a team of volunteers from different parts of the world. The team typically works together in-person for field seasons (so far this has primarily been in Iceland), and then remotely for the rest of year from numerous countries – communicating with one-another virtually. The entire team focuses on both research and engagement, however, some members fall more heavily into one category than the other.

Whale Wise is lucky enough to be overseen by a board of trustees with experience in cetacean research, policy, education and finance – all of which are crucial to running a whale conservation charity.

Without our collaborators Whale Wise would simply not exist. As a small and relatively new charity, Whale Wise relies heavily on the experience and resources of other institutions and organisations. Luckily, we work with generous and knowledgeable partners that make our work possible.

To date, funding has been primarily supplied by academic grants and private donations. These funds have largely covered equipment and rarely personal living costs (housing, food, etc.). In the future, we hope to diversify our fundraising and, in support of an equitable workplace, provide a fair living wage for our team. Support our work here.

We cannot skim the surface and hope to protect an entire ocean

The Whale Wise approach
Whale Wise studies whale populations using a variety of methods, in order to gain an in-depth understanding of each system. We aim to conduct and share our research in a transparent, accessible and fair way, working towards effective conservation for all. Hopefully, by incorporating these three principles in our work, we can make this happen.

We study the interactions between whale populations and human activity. Whales are under threat from our environmental disturbance, and understanding the nature of this threat is key to finding effective solutions. In particular, we are interested in allowing productive industries to continue whilst protecting the welfare and population health of marine mammals. By using novel field methods and modelling techniques, we also hope to make real contributions to the scientific community.

Our research process:

  • Identify a potential source of disturbance
  • Conduct fieldwork to document behavioural, physiological and population-level responses to this activity
  • Analyse these data to deduce the presence and extent of disturbance
  • Design solutions from these results, towards sustainable use of our oceans and protection of marine life

It is important to remember that not all human actions represent a threat to wildlife. Placing the blame on a group of people without justification is counterproductive and does not help our cause.

Sharing and including the public in our work is essential – not only to spread the word about our research, but also to allow others to advise, participate and provide feedback on what we do. Whale Wise should act for the benefit of others – this requires our work to be accessible to everyone.

A large part of this exchange of information involves telling stories- stories of our research, the whales and the people we meet and our future direction. To this end, we are:

  • Organising and participating in events, talks and festivals
  • Creating classroom and museum education programs
  • Sharing our work at public science festivals and scientific conferences
  • Publishing our research in scientific journals
  • Running our website and social media accounts
  • Documenting our research through photos, videos, films and written stories
  • Features in news articles, magazines and TV series

If you have any ideas or comments about our public engagement, we would love to hear from you.

Through research and engagement, our ultimate goal is the conservation and welfare of marine life – for the sake of the individual, whale populations, our future as humans and simply because it is the right thing to do. Surely, that is reason enough.

To translate our work into conservation action, our priority is to share our work with all relevant groups. For example, if we study the impacts of whale watching, we discuss our research with whale watching companies. To make a genuine and fair difference, it isn’t helpful to blame and judge others- alienation is not the answer. In this way, we hope to encourage the development of policies which can actually be followed by those affected.

Our work so far