New: Now in print: Odontocetes - the toothed whales. Link to Earthprint


Odontocetes: the toothed whales:
Distribution, Behaviour, Migration and Threats

Compiled for the Convention on Migratory species (CMS/UNEP) Secretariat, Bonn, Germany
February 4, 2010

by Boris M. Culik (Kiel, Germany)
Illustrated by Mauricio Würtz (Genoa, Italy)
Distribution maps by IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group (Gland, Switzerland)




This encyclopaedia on all 72 species of toothed whales includes the most recent scientific findings on the distribution, migration, behaviour and threats to this group of whales.

Toothed whales occur in a wide range of marine and freshwater habitats, from the Arctic to the tropics. Some species live in large river systems such as the Amazon, Ganges, Indus and Yangtze.

UNEP/CMS Executive Secretary Elizabeth Mrema said: "During the International Year of Biodiversity, the Convention on Migratory Species continues to address major threats such as by-catch, ship strikes, ocean noise impacts and climate change to safeguard these charismatic marine mammals. Governments need to enhance their efforts towards implementing targeted action plans under the Convention. "

Being an official partner of the International Year of Biodiversity (link), the Convention on Migratory Species has joined the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity on a global scale. CMS, which has been recognized as CBD's lead partner on issues regarding migratory species, continues to take steps to stress the importance of biodiversity for our well-being and enhance efforts to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss.

The publication is a joint effort of CMS, ACCOBAMS, ASCOBANS, IUCN, WWF and Loro Parque Foundation (see "links").

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as the Bonn Convention, works for the conservation of a wide array of endangered migratory animals such as whales and dolphins worldwide through the negotiation and implementation of agreements and species action plans. With currently 113 member countries, many of them in Africa, CMS is a fast-growing convention with special importance due to its expertise in the field of migratory species.

Under the Convention, the following regional treaties were concluded to protect whales and dolphins:
- Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS),
- Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS),
- Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region and the
- Memorandum of Understanding concerning the Conservation of the Manatee and Small Cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia.




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