Dolphin at seaThe dolphin is considered to be one of the most intelligent and sociable animals on the planet and one of our most loved animals, though they are also one of the most threatened in many respects.

Naturally inquisitive and friendly, the dolphin is at risk from a number of factors, primarily fishing, pollution and collisions with shipping.

The WWF estimates that around 10,000 dolphins each year are killed in fishing gear around the UK alone as they become trapped in fishing nets and drown due to being unable to reach the surface to breathe.

The impact of over-fishing also results in a decline in the dolphin’s food supply.

Though infrequent, spills from oil tankers and those brought about through the continued exploration and exploitation of sub-sea energy resources such as oil and gas can also have a profound effect on the marine environment in general – as dolphins are at the top of the food chain they are likely to ingest contaminated foods which can lead to ill-health and infertility, causing a further decline in their numbers.

Cetaceans, the family to which the dolphin belongs also includes whales and porpoises, though sharks are in fact fish rather than mammals and so are classified separately.

The WWF is committed to protecting the marine environment as a whole and safeguarding the future of one of our most treasured species of animal.