EFFORTS TO SAVE THE CORNISH BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS

PUBLISHED: 16:13 10 July 2015 | UPDATED: 13:04 30 August 2017

Bottlenose dolphins at St Ives photo by Dan Murphy (2)

Bottlenose dolphins at St Ives photo by Dan Murphy (2)

All images (c)2012 Daniel Murphy

Bottlenose dolphins are the charismatic superstars of the sea, catching a glimpse of them is an experience never forgotten.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has launched an urgent appeal to save Cornwall’s much-loved resident group of bottlenose dolphins from extinction - their numbers have halved since the 1990s to worryingly low levels

Bottlenose dolphins are the charismatic superstars of the sea, catching a glimpse of them is an experience never forgotten. Their disappearance would be a tragic loss to Cornwall. Cornish bottlenose dolphins are currently affored little meaningful protection. This is because our group of dolphins is not officially recognised as a resident’ population by the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies. Other larger groups of bottlenose dolphins around Wales and Scotland have designated Special Areas of Conservation specifically to protect them – but ours do not. Cornwall Wildlife Trust has the big task of proving that Cornwall does in fact have a resident group of bottlenose dolphins, without this proof they will remain unprotected. The Trust must get the dolphins on the map’ if they are to have any chance of a long-term future around the Cornish coast.

The Bottlenose Dolphin Appealaimsto raise £21,000. With these funds, the Trust will carry out vital dolphin research and run a public awareness campaign that will give them the evidence they need to lobby for better protection for the dolphins. Over £8,000 has been raised so far but more donations are urgently needed.

"Bottlenose dolphins are astonishing: their brains are huge, much bigger than ours,' saysDr Nick Tregenza, Marine Conservation expert and Cornwall Wildlife Trust Trustee. 'They have and regularly use individual names. They share cultural knowledge in their groups of how to hunt and survive in their home area. In Cornwall our local inshore group are not thriving in the way they should around our rich coastline. All donations will contribute to understanding more about our dolphins’ conservation needs and what can be done to help them, so please make a donation today - it would be tragic to lose them!'

A coordinated dolphin monitoring programme will provide the scientific data to support records from the public. This programme involves trained volunteers carrying out regular cliff-top and boat-based surveys alongside the installation of C-PODS’ around the coast. C-PODs are underwater listening devices that record the clicks and whistles of dolphins – these help to identify where the dolphins are when they can’t be seen above the water.

A public awareness campaign will help people learn about the rarity of our bottlenose dolphins and encourage people to tell the Trust when they have seen them. Talks, sea watching events and a summer road show will reach thousands of people, inspiring them to take action for dolphins. The monitoring has already begun. If you see bottlenose dolphins, please tell us at www.orks.org.uk or call (01872) 273939.

All the data collected, potentially 1000s of records, will be verified and validated by the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (ERRCIS). It will then be analysed by marine experts to identify dolphin hot-spots’. This vital information will help determine how best to conserve these amazing creatures.

To donate please visitcornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/dolphinappealor visithttps://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/cornwallwildlifetrust/dolphin

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