Please report your sightings of whales or dolphins to CCARO (click the link below) and send us
your photographs or video clips of local whales and dolphins to help
us better understand these local cetaceans.
Of the over 80 cetaceans found worldwide, 19 have been seen in Trinidad and Tobago's waters. Among these are 2 species of baleen whales, the sperm whale, several dolphin species and a species of beaked whale...click here to learn more
What are cetaceans and why do they need protection?
Cetaceans are a group of marine mammals which includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. Although they resemble fish, there are many differences between fish and cetaceans. Like all mammals (and unlike fish) they are warm blooded, air breathing animals which give birth to live young that nurse on their mother's milk. While all cetaceans share features which are adaptions to the aquatic environment there is quite a lot of variation in size, shape, colour and behaviour among them. They are divided into two main groups the baleen whales (which are generally the larger whales such as humpback and blue whales) and the toothed whales (generally smaller and include dolphins, sperm whales and beaked whales) and these are further divided into thirteen families and at least 80 different species.
Whales and dolphins are a charismatic group known mainly for their grace, beauty and intelligence but these are only a small part of their value. They provide important ecosystem services, are socially and economically important to many nations and communities and offer opportunities for us to better understand subjects such as the brain, culture and language.
Unfortunately, these amazing animals are under threat. Some of these threats such as sharks and bad weather are natural, but many others are due to human actions such as whaling/hunting, poor fishing practices, damage to their ocean habitat and collisions with boats. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is believed that while whaling is now non-existent, there are still some instances of hunting, by-catch, vessel strikes, and the larger threat of habitat damage including noise pollution, chemical pollution and marine debris (litter). CCARO is working to reduce these threats to make our ocean safe for these animals (and all other ocean life) and we hope you will join us in our efforts.