All around the globe, countries and their residents are eager to get back to normal after almost two years of facing a global pandemic.
In the UK, the post-lockdown freedom has meant a rising popularity of water sports and boating.
However, conservationists are warning that this increase in activity is actually disturbing the local protected dolphins across the UK.
Since there are more boats in the water, they are noticing that boaters are getting way too close to the dolphins in such coastal locations like Aberdeen and Ullapool. Perhaps the most affected area, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, is the dolphin feeding ground called Chanonry Narrows in the Moray Firth.
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Just north-east of Inverness, Scotland, the Moray Firth is home to a bottlenose dolphin population of roughly 130 animals. These dolphins are protected under UK and international law. Visit Scotland has called Moray Firth “one of the best places in Europe to see these creatures in the wild.”
In addition to the dolphins, visitors to the area can also potentially spot harbor porpoises and seals, white-beaked dolphins, minke whales, pilot whales, and killer whales.
Unfortunately, there have been reports of people intentionally chasing away or harassing the dolphins in the area. This can affect the dolphins negatively, because it means that they’re being scared off from the areas where they primarily feed, putting them at possible risk of getting hit and injured by boats or jet skis.
A WDC Adopt a Dolphin field officer, Charlie Phillips, said, “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 favorite grounds, which are in the Chanonry Narrows itself.”
In order to make tourists to the area more aware of how to treat the marine life around Moray Firth, the WDC started their disturbance campaign. As part of their campaign, they have asked that tourists respect the animals by watching from shore whenever possible, and if they happen to be in the water when the animals appear, to proceed with caution and be as slow and as quiet as possible.Whizzco