As many of the recent blog posts from the Scottish Dolphin Centre can attest, we really can’t believe that autumn and the end of the season is upon us. Before myself and fellow education volunteer Laura say our farewells, we do still have some fun and games planned for the centre’s October Wildlife Warriors club. Getting ready for the winter is the overarching theme of our activities whether that be stocking up on food or making the move to warmer climes and lots in between.
Some worrying news from WDC's dolphin adoption programme in Adelaide, Australia...
Port River resident Wave has not been seen since mid-September and anxiety is mounting among local dolphin watchers.
Wave was sighted with a very small dead calf we suspect was still born on September 10 and, as is normal in the species, protected it for several days before abandoning it. Unfortunately, the calf’s body was never found so we have no way of knowing why it died. This death means Wave’s last three calves have all died.
It is getting very windy, grey and cold up here in the Moray Firth and the light levels during the day are really dropping. Sightings of our dolphins round about Kessock and Chanonry are getting less and less but a little patience can be rewarded. Go equipped with a pair of binoculars, warm layers of clothing and a really big jacket to places like Spey Bay, Chanonry Point and the Kessock Channel and keep watching as winter fish like sprats and herring are starting to arrive which can tempt dolphins to travel around the coast looking for snacks.
On 13th October 2014, I represented WDC in a constructive, two-hour meeting with British Airways representatives at their offices in Central London on the subject of British Airways’ relationship with SeaWorld, a US marine park company holding whales and dolphins in captivity for display to the public.
Renowned philosopher Professor Thomas I White has been an advocate for recognising the rights of whales and dolphins for over two decades. He outlines his manifesto for recognising the personhood status of whales and dolphins in his Primer on Non-human Personhood and Cetacean Rights. Simply, he argues that the supporting scientific evidence now demonstrates that, among others, whales and dolphins have the basic right to life and the right not to be incarcerated.
Despite the public’s growing attention and concern about captive cetaceans, swim-with-dolphin encounters have expanded across the Caribbean region in the past two decades. While some islands and countries have chosen to limit or prohibit the establishment of dolphin facilities (e.g., Panama, Costa Rica, Dominica, and St. Maarten), others have permitted, or are in the process of considering, the construction of one or more swim-with-the dolphin programs (e.g., Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, St. Thomas).
I can’t believe that this year’s Bardsey fieldwork has been and gone. Thanks to funding from Natural Resources Wales (NRW), we were able to be on Bardsey Island for two weeks in late August/ early September. Our team of two (Vicki James and myself) was reinforced by Ceri Wyn Morris, NRW’s new marine mammal specialist, who joined us for one week on the island of 20,000 saints.
The days are getting shorter and we have had some beautiful clear and crisp autumnal days. The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn, producing an array of golden autumnal tones. The robin is singing his melodious tune from strategic perches, a most noticeable bird with their orange-red breast.
The 2014 Icelandic minke whale hunt has killed less than 10% of their self-allocated quota. RUV, Iceland state broadcaster, reports that Iceland's Whale hunters have failed to reach even a small percentage of their qouta, making it very likely that there will be a shortage of whale meat in Iceland this winter.
Well, that was some wild weather we have just had, floods, gales, huge surges in tides...thankfully all calm again and good for observing the sea. Sadly not much with a dorsal fin being seen in my area over the last few days but I did have around ten dolphins wander past Chanonry late last week with Kesslet and new baby coming fairly close to the Point as you can see in the photo below.