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A new WDC report – ‘Whales in Hot Water’ – has been launched today at COP28 highlighting the dramatic effect on whales and dolphins from climate change, including slowly boiling seas, shortage of prey and devastating mass death events.

The effects are also reducing the role these majestic ocean beings can play in helping to fight climate breakdown and are threatening multiple species with imminent extinction.

Whales in Hot Water, also looks at other threats to whale and dolphin populations from climate change, such as rapidly changing ocean environments causing species to turn on each other, toxins associated with algae blooms linked to climate change now regularly found in dead whales and dolphins, changes in behaviour that make them more vulnerable to being hit by passing ships, and weakening immune systems that make them more susceptible to disease.

We are calling for urgent moves to re-whale the ocean (increase whale and dolphin populations to help reach climate and biodiversity goals) before it is too late. A range of recommendations for governments and industry include, tackling the root cause of the climate crisis, taking urgent steps to reduce the number of whales and dolphins caught in fishing nets and gear (the biggest single threat to whales and dolphins), the creation of formal marine protected areas.

“This report would not have been possible without the support of our gaming partners and the World Oceans Day Steam sale that took place in June 2023.” Says Sally Ward, WDC’s Digital Partnerships Manager. “More than 35 games developers and publishers took part in the sale with over 100 awesome video games, all pledging a percentage of their net revenue to WDC’s conservation work. The week-long sale generated WDC’s biggest ever donation of £693k, part of which funded this important report.”

Dr Sylvia Earle, marine biologist, oceanographer and author, states in the report;Whales and dolphins are offering a lifeline to us in the fight against climate change, and we must foster changes that return the favour by adapting our ocean activity to help them thrive. The world must see what stands to be lost if we continue to decimate their habitats, prey sources and health. I call upon those fortunate enough to be in a position of influence – be that, in the realm of governments or industry boardrooms – to take heed of the sound advice offered in this report and to urgently foster the conditions that allow a re-whaled ocean to help us all.’

We would like to say a massive thank you to our gaming partners who took part in the World Oceans Day Steam Sale, for helping to make this important report possible.

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By Sally Ward