WDC’s work to help whale and dolphin populations in Scotland has been given a boost thanks to funding from The National Lottery.
As Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters begins, funding of £190,400 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will help extend WDC’s Shorewatch citizen science programme, which monitors at risk species of whale, dolphin and harbour porpoise in the Northern Isles.
Shorewatch encourages young and old to train as volunteers to identify and scientifically record the movements of legally protected species of whales, dolphins and porpoises – it is possible to spot up to 18 different species from the coast of the Northern Isles. Around 180 people will be involved in collecting vital data about where they breed, feed and travel and data will feed into marine conservation planning, influencing policy and development decisions to ensure better protection for whales and dolphins.
In total, 15 projects across the UK have been awarded a share of £7.4million from National Lottery today to take action for nature, providing a lifeline for 11 species and habitats on the verge of extinction. Since 1994, the National Lottery has invested £829million into nature and wildlife projects.
Katie Dyke, WDC policy officer said; ‘Whales, dolphins and porpoises are facing a number of threats in UK waters, but it is not too late to make a positive change. Creating a connection with the ocean and these incredible creatures is key to empower communities to protect them. This National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will not only allow us to collect vital data to better understand how species use the waters around the Northern Isles, but it will enable us to work closely with local committees and nurture a connection and love for these amazing creatures we are lucky enough to be able to watch from our coastline.’