Cetaceans include the groups whales, dolphins and porpoises. Due to the Eastern Pacific’s historically plentiful waters because of the Humboldt current, many species can be found migrating through Peruvian waters as foraging or breeding grounds.
• In 2011, “Arwen”, a bottlenose dolphin was rescued, rehabilitated and released after suffering from pneumonia. She was the first ever to be rehabilitated in Peru and the only successful case of all strandings worldwide that year. She has been sighted 3 times since her release.
• Dolphins have also suffered from human impacts throughout the country. In March and April 2012, hundreds of dolphins washed up on remote beaches along the northern coast of Peru. ORCA’s director Dr. Carlos Yaipen-Llanos carried out research on this 135km stretch of coastline and confirmed 747 dolphin deaths, 91% being the long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis). Necropsies determined they had died due to acoustic trauma and decompression syndrome, cause by seismic testing for oil companies in the ocean. Also, in many small fishing villages, dolphins are still killed for meat, where their fins are removed for human consumption, despite the toxic levels of mercury in Dolphins. By raising awareness and educating the public we can hopefully end these practices and protect the cetaceans.
• ORCA also discovered the presence in Lima City bay of the long-gone and endangered Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australia), mother and baby “Julia” and “Augusta”, travelling from Antarctica. This was the most northern sighting ever recorded for this species.
• Research is carried out on dolphins and whale species – with acoustic recordings and photo identification being undertaken on multiple species, including Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and Bottlenose Dolphins in July 2015.