Whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean

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It is estimated that there are around 15 different species of whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean. All of these species are severely threatened by human activities. To protect the large marine animals, the whale sanctuary "Pelagos" or "Santuario dei Cetacei" was founded in 1999 by the Mediterranean countries France, Monaco and Italy.

Pelagos whale sanctuary

How big is the protected area?

The reserve is located around the island of Corsica and extends from the Cote d'Azur to southern Tuscany (Monte Argentario). It covers a water surface of around 85.000 square kilometers and is therefore more than twice the size of Switzerland.

Due to the large food supply for both marine mammals and dolphins, both the fin whale (the second largest whale at around 22 m in length) and the Cuvier beaked whale and sperm whale are at home in this area, a total of around 4.000 whales in the Mediterranean.

Dolphins in the Mediterranean are threatened

The common dolphin is being pushed back further and further in the Mediterranean. It can no longer be found in the Adriatic and its habitat in the eastern Mediterranean is increasingly restricted. In the protected area "Pelagos" the remaining species are to be researched, e. B. the blue and white dolphin with a length of about 2 m, the common dolphin with about 2,50 m, the bottlenose dolphin with about 3,50 m and the round head dolphin with up to 4 m in length.

Dolphin in the Mediterranean
One of the dolphins in the Mediterranean

Cetacean Alliance aims to save threatened marine animals

In order to preserve this biodiversity in the Mediterranean, research institutes and conservation organizations have come together to form the "Cetacean Alliance". Joint activities are intended to improve the habitat for the threatened marine animals and thus reduce the negative impact of human interference in natural cycles.

The German branch of the globally active "Oceancare" is also participating in the protective measures and has launched the "MedCet" project. Weekly courses are offered here and interested people have the opportunity to watch whales and dolphins in the open sea and learn a lot about the animals' habits. The aim is to sensitize the participants to the protection of these endangered animals. Also "deep wave“Aims to protect the whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean. On the website of cetaceanalliance.org video documentations and films can be viewed.


Whale and Dolphin Watching Tours?

Several agencies in larger towns such as Viareggio (click here for map view) organize tours with motor or sailing boats on the coast of Tuscany to show tourists the natural spectacle of whales and dolphins.

Whale and dolphin watching
Whale and dolphin watching

As a rule, however, the organizers do not guarantee that you will actually see whales or dolphins in the few hours at sea.

Official bodies are quite cautious on this topic. Although one wants to stimulate tourism, the endangered animals in their habitat are spared as much as possible. We from Tuscany tour We therefore recommend that you make a contribution to the endangered animal world so that it can be preserved in its natural environment for a long time to come. Therefore, this form of mass tourism should not necessarily be an option.

A good alternative for a "whale and dolphin tour" is, for example, a tour with Pescaturisma SIRENA from Talamone (click here for map view) to do. Paolo Fanciulli is a fisherman with heart and soul who is committed to sustainable fishing. Offers tours with interesting background information off the coast of Tuscany. You can find more information on this here. And maybe you will be lucky too - and meet whales and dolphins.

Last updated: 26.01.2024

Images courtesy of stasal, hrvojemargaretic / Pixabay and Nature-Pix / Pixabay

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