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Common bottlenose dolphin

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Dolphins in WDC’s adopt a dolphin programme doing well

According to a report published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), with research undertaken by Aberdeen University, around 200 bottlenose dolphins make the Moray Firth and Scottish north east coast their home, and the population is ‘stable’.

WDC warmly welcomes this news. The population was at one time estimated to be around 130 dolphins, so this appears to show an increase, though there is now much more dedicated research and monitoring.

Over recent decades there has been a concerted effort of awareness and conservation: The designation of Special Areas of Conservation, raising awareness with boat owners and other water users around how to behave when sharing the water with the dolphins, research, outreach and a great deal more. WDC has been at the forefront of much of this work through our campaigns, Shorewatch project, funding of research, Scottish Dolphin Centre and the adopt a dolphin programme.


Adopt a dolphin field officer, Charlie Phillips said: ‘I’ve been studying these magnificent dolphins for over 30 years. It’s great to see that the population is doing well, in spite of all the activity in the area.  People love these dolphins, they are a key part of our natural heritage. They are to be valued and treasured.’

WDC policy manager, Sarah Dolman said: ‘We are cautiously optimistic. And of course we have to be aware that whilst there’s a lot of protection, there’s a lot of increasing human activity too, not all of it benign for whales and dolphins, so we have to monitor the site, manage it robustly and ensure greater protection.’

You can support our work in Scotland and all over the world by adopting one of the bottlenose dolphins who live in the Moray Firth.