Bottlenose Dolphin Appeal

Bottlenose dolphin by Adrian Langdon

Cornwall's bottlenose dolphins are in serious decline. Their numbers have halved since the 1990s and they face the very real danger of local extinction. We cannot let this happen. Please help us raise £21,000 so we can work to get the areas where our Cornish dolphins feed and breed protected.

Bottlenose dolphins are the charismatic superstars of the sea. Catching a glimpse of them leaping through the waves or riding the bow waves of boats is an experience you will never forget. Their disappearance would be tragic loss for Cornwall. Please help us stop this by making a donation today. Any amount, small or large, will make a difference.

Dr Nick Tregenza, a Trustee of Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Marine Conservation expert is encouraging anyone who loves dolphins to donate: 

"Bottlenose dolphins are astonishing: their brains are huge, much bigger than ours. They have and regularly use individual names. They share cultural knowledge in their groups of how to hunt and survive in their home area. In Cornwall our local inshore group are not thriving in the way they should around our rich coastline. All donations will contribute to understanding more about our dolphins’ conservation needs and what can be done to help them, so please make a donation today - it would be tragic to lose them!"


How we will get our dolphins protected

If we can raise £21,000, we will carry out vital dolphin research and a public awareness campaign that will give us the evidence we need to lobby for the creation of Marine Protected Areas for the dolphins.

Cornish bottlenose dolphins are not currently offered any form of protection. This is because, incredibly, our important group of dolphins is not officially recognised as a 'resident' population by the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies. This is due to a lack of coordinated and validated scientific research. This lack of recognition means they are not eligible for protection. Other, larger groups of bottlenose dolphins around Wales and Scotland have designated Special Areas of Conservation specifically to protect them. We desperately need to get our Cornish dolphins on the map so they can have a long term future around the Cornish coast. With your donation, here's what we will do:

Step 1

We need to gather data on where dolphins are feeding and breeding to prove we have a resident population. We already have data from previous years but we need a lot more. We need to run a coordinated dolphin monitoring programme and get more public sightings of dolphins recorded. This will give us the validated scientific data we need. 

Step 2

With this evidence, we will work to get our Cornish group of dolphins officially recognised by the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies. 

Step 3

Once our dolphins are on the map, we will then lobby government for better protection for the dolphins which will help halt their decline. This protection will not only benefit bottlenose dolphins. As top marine predators, bottlenose dolphins are key indicators of the status of the marine environment. Management measures that can be put in place to help dolphins will also benefit many other important species such as basking sharks, whales and porpoises.

What will happen if we cannot do this vital work?

If we cannot prove we have a resident bottlenose dolphin population they will not get protected. Without protection there is a very real chance they will die out and never return to our shores.

Don’t let this happen – please give a donation today, the dolphins will thank you for it!

How much to donate

£20 will pay for ten dolphin identification guides
£50 will train one volunteer to monitor dolphins
£100 will buy a pair of waterproof binoculars for use on public dolphin watches
£500 will buy a telescope for use on coordinated dolphin watches
£1,000 buys one C-POD to help us monitor dolphins underwater

Please help us reach our goal of £21,000 by making a donation today. It will make a genuine difference to Cornwall's bottlenose dolphins. Thank you!

Printing costs of the letter and leaflets produced for this appeal have been generously covered by Four Way.

Any funds raised above the amount required will be used for nature reserves management.


If you have any questions about our Bottlenose Dolphin Appeal please contact Ruth Williams, Living Seas Manager, via email or call (01872) 273939 ext 207.