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Post-lockdown rise in harassment of dolphins

2021-8-21 15:48| 发布者: hujian| 查看: 12| 评论: 0

摘要: Dolphins are being increasingly disturbed since the popularity of boats and water sports surged following lockdown, conservations have warned.Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) said Chanonry Narrows ...

Dolphins are being increasingly disturbed since the popularity of boats and water sports surged following lockdown, conservations have warned.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) said Chanonry Narrows, a dolphin feeding ground in the Moray Firth, was among the worst affected.

There have also been reports of boats being steered too close to dolphins off Aberdeen and Ullapool.

WDC said in most cases people were unaware of the harm they could cause.

But the charity added that there were incidents where people were intentionally chasing or harassing dolphins.

The risks posed to the animals include being scared away from areas where they find food - fish such as salmon - and being struck and injured by a boat.

'Particularly bad'

Charlie Phillips, a WDC Adopt A Dolphin field officer, said a range of craft were involved including sailing boats, kayaks and paddle boards.

He said the problem was seen most years, but there have been more boats and increased incidents of craft straying into the Chanonry Narrows near Fortrose.

Mr Phillips said: "This year seems particularly bad.

"At this time of year it is fairly serious because we have pregnant female dolphins in the area and the last thing they need is to be diverted away from their favourite grounds, which are in the Chanonry Narrows itself."

Mr Phillips said most people move away from dolphins when asked - often by the field officer shouting to them from the nearby shoreline - but he added: "Sometimes the behaviour is intentional harassment."

DolphinIMAGE SOURCEGETTY IMAGES
image captionDolphins are protected by law

The Moray Firth has a population of bottlenose dolphins, which are protected under UK and international laws.

WDC said there had been a "surge" in visitors to coastal areas following the end of lockdown.

A spokesman said: "Many boat users and holiday makers simply do not know what the rules are or how to report incidents they witness.

"Intentionally seeking out marine mammals like resident dolphins, whales and seals to get close to for photo opportunities, and then getting too close is against the law with offences subject to a fine of up to £5,000."


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