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Moray-based dolphin project a major success

By SPP Reporter

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The Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay
The Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay

HUNDREDS of children are becoming experts on Moray’s coastal waters after taking part in a project run by a conservation group.

For the third year running, a team from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), based at the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay, has been working with communities and schools.

As well as providing outdoor learning opportunities, the centre has also recruited many people for its Shorewatch programme.

More than 400 Shorewatch volunteers have now been trained to help with the project, which encourages members of the public to monitor whale and dolphin sightings around the coast. This information is then used to help reduce threats to the creatures.

"It has been hugely exciting and rewarding working on the Shorewatch programme," said WDC conservation officer Katie Dyke.

"WDC Shorewatch offers free training in whale and dolphin identification and biological recording, in over 23 coastal communities across Scotland, and enables hundreds of volunteers to monitor whale and dolphin populations.

"Not only do our WDC Shorewatch volunteers collect valuable data to better protect whales and dolphins, but they are gaining skills, confidence and knowledge to become wildlife ambassadors within their community.

"The Shorewatch programme has collected over 21,000 records during the project and spotted 15 different whale and dolphin species, making it a valuable data set which is used to inform conservation management decisions."

Ms Dyke said the WDC is "delighted" to have received further funding from Scottish Natural Heritage to continue its work for another year.

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