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Linked activity for Q1.pdf - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Linked activity for Q1.pdf - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

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Page 2 - Dolphin Diploma question 1 ideasWhale and Dolphin Conservation SocietyWDCS is the global voice for the protection of whales, dolphins and their environmentMartin CammWDCS UK | Brookfield House | 38 St Paul Street | Chippenham | Wiltshire SN15 1LJ | tel: 0870 870 5001 | email: education@wdcs.org | reg. charity no: 1014705

Page 3 - Dolphin Diploma question 1 ideasWhale and Dolphin Conservation SocietyWDCS is the global voice for the protection of whales, dolphins and their environmentThe Moray Firth Bottlenose DolphinWhy the Moray Firth Dolphins are SpecialThe Moray Firth dolphins are special because they are the only population in the North Sea and thebiggest bottlenose dolphins in the world - averaging about 4m in length. They are so large becausethey have adapted to the cold waters of the North Sea and need lots of blubber to keep themwarm!Population and DistributionUsing photographic ID research methods conducted by the University of Aberdeen and volunteersat the WDCS Wildlife Centre, we have been able to establish that there are around 130 bottlenosedolphins living in the Moray Firth. These animals live here all year round, making them one of onlytwo residential populations in the UK (the other living in Cardigan Bay, Wales). The dolphins tend tomove to the Outer Moray Firth during the winter and are often seen down the coast by Aberdeenand beyond when food is scarcer. However, they tend to come into the Inner Moray Firth during thesummer, so this can be the best time to go dolphin spotting.BehaviourBottlenose dolphins are very active and can often be seen bow-riding, tail slapping, spy-hoppingand breaching - leaping several metres out of the water. They can also sometimes be seen “playinggames” with objects such as seaweed and fish they have caught. Bottlenose dolphins are highlysocial animals and, although they can be found on their own, they tend to live in collaborativegroups called ‘schools’.Life ExpectancyFemale bottlenose dolphins generally live longer than the males and can live to over 50 years ofage. The lifespan of bottlenose dolphins is usually greatly reduced when in captivity.Watching the DolphinsBottlenose dolphins are often found in coastal areas so they are one of the best species to watchfrom land. One of the best places to watch for the dolphins is Chanonry Point on the Black Isle. AtChanonry, the land extends out into the sea, forming a great vantage point from which to see thedolphins close up. The best time to go is two to three hours before high tide. All along the Moraycoast there are various hot spots for dolphin watching including Spey Bay. When watching fordolphins, good indicators are splashes in the water and large groups of birds feeding.Another way is to take a trip on one of the wildlife watching boat trips. There are around 11 boatoperators in the area that belong to the Dolphin Space Program (DSP). This is an accreditationscheme for wildlife tour operators in the Moray Firth. DSP accredited operators follow a code ofconduct which helps to ensure that interactions with dolphins and other wildlife do not causedisturbance. For further information visit the DSP website at www.dolphinspace.org.WDCS UK | Brookfield House | 38 St Paul Street | Chippenham | Wiltshire SN15 1LJ | tel: 0870 870 5001 | email: education@wdcs.org | reg. charity no: 1014705

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