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Dolphins living year-round off English Coast

The first resident pod of bottle-nosed dolphins has been confirmed to be living off the south-west coast of England. This pod adds to the UK’s other existing dolphin populations, in Cardigan, Wales and Moray Firth, Scotland. Dolphins are one of the most popular marine mammals, a favourite of adults and children alike, and scientists and local people are hoping to work together to ensure these resident populations continue to thrive…

bottlenose dolphinExperts used thousands of sightings and photos to try to identify any dolphins that were living in England’s waters year-round. Using the dolphins’ dorsal fins, which are as unique to dolphins as fingerprints are to humans, Plymouth University researchers studied 3,843 records to identify 98 dolphins. Among these 98 individuals, a resident population was found, a group of 28 individuals living year-round off the coasts of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. The sightings, recorded between 2007 and 2016, established the group was present in shallow coastal waters, mainly off Cornwall and particularly near St Ives Bay and Mount's Bay.

Ruth Williams, marine conservation manager at the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: "Further work is needed but this is a huge step forward and I am proud of what our partnership between Cornwall Wildlife Trust, scientists and boat operators has achieved.

"We need to make sure the few we currently have in the south west are given the protection not just to survive, but to thrive."

5 January 2018

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