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Images by kind permission of the Cornish Wildlife Trust

Wildlife in Cornwall

Have you seen a Dolphin ?

The Bottlenose dolphin has been the most extensively studied dolphin in the world it is found in all waters of the world apart from the polar regions, there are two varieties a coastal and offshore type. A group of dolphins appeared on Cornish coasts in 1991 and were regularly sighted by the Cornish Wildlife Trust headed by Dr Nick Tregenza, the range of the new group was thought to cover over 300km (180 miles).

 In August 1993 the Cornish Dolphin Project was set up by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society to study the dolphins in detail. Using land based observations and photography from a small boat it was possible to start to identify individual dolphins. However, because the dolphins were covering such a large area it was impossible to keep track of them without help and this was done through publicity and the work of the County Council's Countryside Services. People were asked to telephone and report sightings of dolphins giving the date, time, place, number of animals and their direction. The researchers were then able to try and find the group going out on the cliffs, launching their boat or sometimes even going out in a kayak to get close enough for recognition purposes.

Over 250 sightings were reported and this was incredibly helpful enabling the dolphins to be tracked and 17 different individuals were identified by photographing their dorsal fins which have a unique pattern and shape just like our finger prints. So far we have learnt much about our Cornish dolphin group, currently spending much time around Land's End, but we need to continue the work to allow steps to be taken to safeguard the future of these wonderful creatures. You don't have to be a "dolphin observer" to take part in the project, anybody can help by reporting sightings to the project sighting line on 01736 51747 or telephoning the St, Agnes - Newquay Countryside Service on 01872 322660. So next time you are out walking on the cliffs keep your eyes peeled ! Please leave details of the date, time, place and number of animals you think there was and the report will be recorded and followed up.

For information on the Cornish Dolphin Group contact the Cornwall Wildlife Trust on 01872 73939

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