In 2016 record numbers of dolphins were spotted off Scotland’s west coast. Colleagues at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust recorded 2,303 individual common dolphins, 42 bottlenose dolphins, and 94 Risso’s dolphins in Hebridean waters. The figures were the highest ever recorded for all three species since surveys began in 1994, some days the team recorded groups of 200-300 individuals at a time. The research included a mix of visual surveys and acoustic monitoring with underwater microphones or hydrophones and photographic ID of individual cetaceans. Western Scotland’s seas are one of Europe’s most important cetacean habitats. So far 24 of the world’s estimated 92 cetacean species have been recorded in the region – many being national and international conservation priority species.
Photo Credit: S Keeze