A huge thank you to all who participated in our naming competition!
Our little harbour porpoise mascot is now called Bubbles, and has become the official spokesporpoise for the last few hundred Baltic harbour porpoises and all their relatives.
Bubbles’ name was suggested by 12-year old Baleigh from Aberdeen, UK, who was one of many participants in the naming competition announced on the website in March, which received entries from a number of European countries and Canada.
Harbour porpoises are one of the smallest cetaceans. They have a small round head, no beak and a low, wide dorsal fin that is shaped like a triangle. They measure about 1.8 metres and weigh as little as 45 to 70kg (about the height and weight of an average human).
We chose a porpoise as a mascot because it is the flagship species of ASCOBANS. It is the only species that occurs everywhere in the Agreement Area. And it is in trouble, especially in the Baltic Sea. Nobody knows exactly how many are left there, but everyone agrees that it is in the range of a few hundred. Also, until very recently, nobody really knew whether porpoises still existed everywhere in the Baltic Proper. But thanks to a large-scale research project using about 300 click detectors, since February 2014 we have data showing they are still there (more information here: www.sambah.org). Better estimates of the number of animals will follow when the data analysis is completed towards the end of 2014. It is clear, however, that there are not nearly as many as there should be for a healthy, stable population.