Southwest Bottlenose Dolphin Project

Aim: To collate existing evidence and co-ordinate bottlenose dolphin research in Cornwall and Southwest England.

We are incredibly lucky here in the Southwest of England to have bottlenose dolphins in our waters and to regularly see them from land and boat. Sadly however, there is currently no specific protection offered to this resident population and the Joint Nature Conservancy Council (JNCC), advisor to Government on nature conservation issues, are only likely to support the establishment of protection measures if robust data are available in support of such a proposal.

Recent work by Marinelife, together with boat operators Marine Discovery and AK Wildlife Cruises highlighted the importance of the southern coastal waters between Dorset and Land’s End for Bottlenose Dolphins. However, this is only part of the picture and Cornwall Wildlife Trust and partners including scientists, research groups and eco-tourism operators aim to build on this work with more wide-ranging efforts to collate all sightings and photographic data from the whole of the South West, including Devon and North Cornwall.

 As such, a collaborative partnership has been established within the region called the SW Bottlenose Dolphin Consortium. This partnership is co-ordinated by the Cornwall Willdlife Trust and includes a wide range of groups, organisations, businesses and individuals who have all signed up to contribute their data to better understand our bottlenose dolphins. The Consortium also has a Steering Group which includes The Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (ERCCIS), Marinelife, Exeter University, Plymouth University, Chelonia Ltd and Marine Discovery.

The aims of this Consortium is to collate both historic data, and to co-ordinate collection of new survey and photographic data. We held a very successful conference in October 2016 with expert workshops which distilled thoughts and helped to formulate our programme of work. We are currently analysing all historic photo-identification images to try to answer the following questions:

• Is there a distinct inshore coastal group of BND in SW?
• What is the population abundance of BND in SW?
• What is the population range of these regional animals?


We are calling on anyone who has bottlenose dolphin records and particularly photographs which could be used for photo identification, to join us in this collaborative project to collate this data and help to build a better picture of our resident bottlenose dolphins and ensure they are adequately protected.

If you have any questions about our bottlenose dolphin work or to discuss sharing photos and data please contact;

Ruth Williams, Living Seas Manager, via email or call (01872) 302261.

See also:
Twitter: @rhdudley30



FilenameFile size
fact_sheet_bottlenose_dolphin_talk_ammended.pdf959.17 KB
marine_acoustics_project_report_final.pdf391.74 KB