Lo­cal res­i­dents urged to spot whales and dol­phins

The Oban Times - - Outdoors - DAVID MCPHEE dm­cphee@oban­times.co.uk

PEO­PLE in Ar­gyll have just two days left to help sci­en­tists this year by re­port­ing sight­ings of whales and dol­phins.

Every year, sci­en­tists at the Sea Watch Foun­da­tion lead the Na­tional Whale and Dol­phin Watch, a cam­paign to get mem­bers of the pub­lic con­tribut­ing to pro­tect cetaceans from July 29 to Au­gust 5.

And as re­gional co- or­di­na­tor, the He­bridean Whale and Dol­phin Trust (HWDT), based in Tober­mory, has or­gan­ised a num­ber of events.

‘It is a great time of year to go whale watch­ing in the He­brides,’ Pippa Gar­rard, HWDT com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cer, said. ‘Mi­gra­tory minke whales are in the area to feed, the small na­tive har­bour por­poise are eas­ier to spot in the calm sum­mer weather and even rare species such as hump­back whales are mak­ing an ap­pear­ance.

‘And there are so many fan­tas­tic places to watch whales and dol­phins from shore in the west of Scot­land. The pub­lic play a vi­tal role in mon­i­tor­ing th­ese an­i­mals, par­tic­u­larly here where there is such a long, com­plex coast­line.

‘We are urg­ing peo­ple sub­mit their sight­ings dur­ing the event or join us at their lo­cal head­land to find out more about lo­cal wildlife.’

Some of the events tak­ing place are: Friday Au­gust 4: Glen­gorm Es­tate, Mull, 10am to 1pm; Friday Au­gust 4: Ross­gill, Tiree, 10am to 1pm; Satur­day Au­gust 5: Kin­tra, Bunes­san, Mull, 10am to 1pm.

Sci­en­tists and vol­un­teer ob­servers from across Scot­land get in­volved in or­der to boost the Sea Watch’s data­base.

Since Na­tional Whale and Dol­phin Watch be­gan in 2002, around 4,500 sight­ings have been made in lo­ca­tions from the Chan­nel Is­lands and the Scilly Isles to the Shet­land Isles.

Peo­ple are be­ing urged to reg­is­ter and run watches of their own dur­ing Na­tional Whale and Dol­phin Watch 2017, so that they can con­trib­ute data for the pro­tec­tion of th­ese mag­nif­i­cent species.

To find out more about lo­cal events, visit www.whaledol­phin­trust.co.uk or to reg­is­ter your own event visit, www.sea­watch­foun­da­tion.org.uk/nwdw

The pub­lic are be­ing urged to re­port whale sight­ings.

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