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Bottlenose dolphins have been resident in the Moray Firth for at least 100 years. These rare creatures are the only surviving population of their kind in the North sea and need protection from the many threats that they face.
In 2005 part of the Moray Firth was designated as a bottlenose dolphin Special Area of Conservation (SAC), one of only two such protected areas in the UK. The main aim of the SAC is to raise awareness of the problems faced by these cute mammals, one of the biggest being oil and gas exploration. Other threats include marine pollution, boat traffic, negligent jet skis and wind farms with underwater turbines causing noise pollution.
TV presenter and zoologist Miranda Krestovnikoff is the patron of The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS). The WDCS want special conservation areas to be observed so that the dolphins can remain undisturbed and be able to live freely in Scottish waters:
“A lot of people aren’t aware that we’ve got dolphins around the UK in resident populations. There are about 130 that live in the Moray Firth.
“They have a special area of conservation set up for them which is under threat from human activity. We’re not sure how this activity affects the dolphins but we want to make sure that it’s regulated and are trying to get it to happen elsewhere with the Protect Our Dolphins (POD) campaign.”
Miranda took a boat trip with Charlie Phillips to see the dolphins in their natural habitat. Charlie has been studying the loveable creatures in the Moray Firth for the last 20 years. Miranda said:
“I only had an hour on the boat and it’s like the dolphins knew we only had a limited amount of time to film them so they put on their best display. They were leaping all over the place and the little baby dolphins were coming out of the water. If you’ve had a really bad day or are a bit tired it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.”
Miranda is doing a skydive in Salisbury on September 24 to raise awareness and money for the Moray Firth dolphins.