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Dolphins Increasingly Harassed By Humans After Lockdown Restrictions Ease

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Dolphins Increasingly Harassed By Humans After Lockdown Restrictions Ease

Post-lockdown popularity of water sporting and boating is disturbing protected dolphins around the UK, conservationists are warning.

More boats are reportedly steering too close to dolphins in coastal areas such as Aberdeen and Ullapool.

The worst affected area is the dolphin feeding ground Chanonry Narrows in the Moray Firth, according to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).

The Moray Firth, north-east of Inverness, Scotland, is known for its population of around 130 bottlenose dolphins. These creatures are protected under UK and international law.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

According to Visit Scotland, this inlet is 'one of the best places in Europe to see these creatures in the wild'.

You can also find harbour porpoises and seals, white-beaked dolphins, minke whales, pilot whales and killer whales further out.

There have been cases where people have intentionally chased or harassed the dolphins after a surge in post-lockdown tourists.

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This can scare them away from the key areas where they feed, creating a risk of them accidentally being struck and injured by boats or jet skis.

Charlie Phillips is the WDC Adopt a Dolphin field officer: "This year seems particularly bad.

"At this time of year it is fairly serious because we have pregnant female dolphins in the area and the last thing they need is to be diverted away from their favourite grounds, which are in the Chanonry Narrows itself."

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Most people on crafts such as sailing boats, kayaks and paddle boards move away from the creatures when instructed to by a field officer.

However, Mr Phillips said that 'sometimes the behaviour is intentional harassment'.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The WDC launched their disturbance campaign to raise awareness and encourage tourists to be responsible around the marine animals in the Moray Firth and beyond.

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They ask that tourists to watch from the shore if possible, or make sure their craft is slow, quiet, and steady when coming across dolphins whilst out at sea.

Words: Daisy Herman

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, Animals

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