Today we celebrate the Baltic seas own little whale. The third Sunday in May each year is the day of the Harbour porpoise. The Harbour porpoise is one of the smallest whales with a length of about 150 cm and a weight of around 50 kgs. They are mammals and need to come up to the surface to breathe about once every other minute; this is the best opportunity to see these very timid animals.
Unfortunately, they are a rare sight in the Baltic sea, as there are only around 500 Harbour porpoises living there. They are classified as critically endangered and there are several threats to their survival. They get caught in fishing nets and drown, and their ability to reproduce is negatively affected by toxic contaminants.
Other issues they face are a lack of food, and that what food there is can be hard to find due to the noise coming from ships for example. The Harbour porpoises are dependent on their hearing in order to hunt, using what’s called echolocation to find prey. They also use sound to find each other and communicate.
WWF are working hard to increase the protection of the areas that are the most important to the Harbour porpoises, through concrete actions to make sure they don’t get caught in fishing nets or are bothered by noise.
Have you ever seen a Harbour porpoise? Share your story here!