Cetacean species of Peru

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Mundo Azul – Calle Francisco del Castillo 506 – Miraflores, Lima – email us at: mundoazulorg@gmail.com


More than 30 species of whales and dolphins have been identified in Peruvian waters. This equals roughly 37 % of the worlds whale and dolphin species, making Peru being one of the worlds best whale and dolphin watching destinations. Because there are no storms or rainfalls ever along the Peruvian coast and whales and dolphins are always present, the season for whale and dolphin watching in Peru is all year long – every day.

When whale watching and dolphin watching in Peru you can observe not only bottlenose dolphins and dusky dolphins, but also blue whales, humpback whales, sei whales, sperm whales, Bryde whales, fin whales, orcas, common dolphins and many more. Scientific studies of Mundo Azul have shown that Peru has one of the world’s highest densities of coastal bottlenose dolphins. If you want to support our cetacean conservation work while enjoying close encounters with whales and dolphins you can become a dolphin conservation volunteer with us or make a tour with our associated ecotourism operator Nature Expeditions.

For detailed information on the cetacean species of Peru, their natural history,  distribution range and conservation status, choose from the list below:

Order: Cetacea

Suborder: Mysticeti

Family Balaenopteridae:

Blue whale (Balaenopteridae musculus, Linnaeus, 1758)

Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus, Linnaeus, 1758)

Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis, Lesson, 1828)

Bryde whale (Balenoptera edeni, Anderson, 1878)

Minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis, Burmeister, 1867)

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae, Borowski, 1781)

Family Balaenidae:

Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis, Desmoilins, 1822)

Suborder Odontoceti

Family Physiteridae:

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus, Linnaeus, 1758)

Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps, De Blainville, 1838)

Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia simus, Owen, 1866)

Family Delphinidae:

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus, Montagu, 1821)

Dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus, Gray 1828)

Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis, Linnaeus, 1758)

Longbeaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis, Gray 1828)

Spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata, Gray, 1846)

Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris, Gray, 1828)

Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba, Meyen, 1833)

Southern right whale dolphin (Lissodelphis peronii, Lacépéde, 1804)

Short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus, Gray, 1846)

Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas, Traill, 1809)

Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus, Cuvier, 1812)

Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra, Gray, 1846)

Rough-toothed dolphin (Stena bredanensis, Cuvier, 1823)

Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata, Gray, 1874)

False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens, Owen, 1846)

Orca, killer whale (Orcinus orca, Linnaeus, 1758)

Family Stenidae

Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis, Gerais y Deville, 1853)

Family Platanistidae:

Amazon River Dolphin (Inia geofrensis, De Blainville, 1817)

Family Phocoenidae:

Burmeisters porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis, Burmeister, 1865)

Family Ziphiidae:

Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris, Cuvier, 1823)

Gray’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon grayi, Von Haast, 1876)

Small beaked whale (Mesoplodon peruvianus, Reyes, Mead y Van Waerebeek, 1991)


What we do to stop the dolphin slaughter in Peru:

According to our estimate between 5000 and 15000 dolphins are killed illegally in Peru each year to be used as shark bait by Peruvian fishermen. Additionally up to 3000 dolphins are killed each year illegally in Peru for human consumption. In 2002 Mundo Azul started investigating the Peruvian black market on illegally caught dolphin meat. The dolphin meat is regularly landed at night on beaches near the ports in order to avoid the controls of harbor officials. At this point, the meat is already cut into small pieces and hidden in boxes, while heads, flukes, bones and intestines have been thrown over board before or while entering the harbor. The meat is then openly sold on local markets. In 2013 Mundo Azul uncovered the massive dolphin kill for shark bait. Stefan Austermühle, Executive Director of Mundo Azul, managed to travel in a full month fishing trip and filmed the brutal killing of dolphins – pictures that sent a shock wave around the world. Please support our campaign to pressure the Peruvian government to act decisively in order to end the dolphin killing in Peru.


Mundo Azuls volunteers are engaged in undercover investigation of illegal sales of dolphin meat. We are then providing the collected intelligence to the Peruvian police and are actively supporting the implementation of police raids. We are also supporting the Peruvian police thru capacity building. Raising public awareness and environmental education are further activities of our dolphin conservation campaign. We are engaged in dolphin research providing us with important baseline information for conservation planning. Finally we are promoting whale and dolphin watching as a sustainable economic alternative to illegal dolphin killing.

We are also active on an international level against dolphin captivity and whaling.


What you can do to stop the dolphin slaughter in Peru

  1. Spread the word: share this web-page with your social network friends or send out the link by email.
  2. Go whale watching and dolphin watching in Peru with Nature Expeditions: This way you are directly supporting Mundo Azuls research and conservation work and you are showing the Peruvian public that tourism can be an economic alternative to dolphin killing
  3. Sign on to the various action alerts and signature lists published regularly in Mundo Azuls web site.


Stay in touch with Mundo Azul!

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on our Facebook page “Mundo Azul International

Mundo Azul – Calle Francisco del Castillo 506 – Miraflores, Lima – email us at: mundoazulorg@gmail.com


Be a conservation volunteer with Mundo Azul

Take part in dolphin and wildlife conservation projects, advocacy campaigns, environmental education and much more


Apply for an internship

If you want to dedicate a few months or more to meaningful conservation work in Peru, than this is the option for you.


Book the following trips with Mundo Azuls commercial partner Nature Expeditions in Peru in order to support our conservation work

coastal marine birding               coastal wetland birding                                                     Urban birding in Lima


Protected bird site                                           Coastal desert oasis

Pantanos de Villa                                               Lomas de Lachay                                              Birding in the Andes





Please also support the following conservation campaigns

Save the dolphins          Save the sharks