All ages: Whales and Dolphins

We hope you love the design for this year’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award (designed by the brilliant James Brown) as much as we do.

It turns out Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) also love the design – and after finding out more about this excellent charity, we thought it would be great to share some fun facts about whales and dolphins. If you are struggling to find a subject for your Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award poems, then get inspired by these amazing creatures! 

Foyle Young Poets

Fun facts from Alison Wood at WDC

  • Whales and dolphins are clever, social creatures who live in family groups and look after one another
  • Dolphins have names for one another – we call these ‘signature whistles’
  • Whales and dolphins sleep with one eye open so that they can look out for danger
  • Humpback whales are talented singers and compose all their own songs
  • Whales and dolphins live long lives – the longest is the bowhead whale who can live for more than 200 years
  • Whales and dolphins are threatened by entanglement in fishing gear, hunting, pollution, captivity (marine parks & zoos) and the destruction of their homes
  • Dolphins are not fussy eaters and happily eat fish, squids, jellyfish and shrimps that live in the seawater around them
  • Beluga whales are white, which makes for perfect camouflage in the icy Arctic seas where they live. They have very thick blubber to keep them warm
  • Some dolphins live in freshwater rivers and lakes. The Amazon River dolphin is bright pink and lives in the rivers of the Amazon rainforest of South America
  • Orcas are also known as killer whales; they are not whales at all, they are the biggest member of the dolphin family. They can grow to 10m long!
  • There are 90 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the world
  • Sperm whales have the biggest brain on the planet
  • Blue whales are the largest creature ever to have lived on Earth
  • Whale poo is important – it provides important nutrients for plankton living at the surface of the ocean. In other words, whale poo supports the entire ocean food web
  • Fin whales swim so fast that they are known as the greyhounds of the sea
  • Whales tackle the climate crisis by helping to take carbon out of the atmosphere
Dolphins having fun off the coast of Scotland. Photo: WDC/: Charlie Philips

Poets on Whales and Dolphins 

There are so many fantastic poems from poets from across the world. Here are a selection of some of our favourite poems about whales and dolphins, including the Foyle Young Poet commended poem Mariner, which helped inspire this year’s design: 

Enter the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

If you are aged 11-17, then why not enter your new whale and dolphin poems into the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award? The Foyle competition has no theme, so you can enter poems on any topic. To enter for free visit by 31 July.

If you would like to find out more from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and maybe even adopt a whale, dolphin or orca yourself, then check out their website at