Dolphin Conservation on Scotland’s Coastline
With more than 800 kilometres of rugged coastline incorporated in three council areas of Scotland (Highlands, Aberdeenshire and Moray), Moray Firth is a triangular-shaped inlet from the North Sea into which a number of rivers flow, including the River Spey, River Findhorn and River Ness. It is a spectacularly beautiful region of Scotland that holds particular appeal for nature lovers and it is here in Moray Firth that the world’s largest bottle-nosed dolphins can be seen, often leaping clear out of the water in an unrestrained display of natural showmanship. Visitors to the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay can gain insight into these intelligent marine mammals and learn about the challenges they face in our modern world, as well discover what is being done to protect them.
At the Scottish Dolphin Centre, strategically placed video cameras transmit dolphin and wildlife activity to the visitors’ centre, while the sightings board provides information on where dolphins, seals, otters, ospreys, gannets and other animals were last sighted. Activities include viewing and touching dolphin bones while listening to interesting information about dolphins, as well as an acoustic exhibition that allows visitors to hear how dolphins communicate. The centre’s Ice House offers amazing footage of whales and dolphins in its ‘Underwater World’ film, and visitors will also learn about the history of salmon fishing in Scotland. During the summer season, daily walks and tours take place every hour between 11am and 5pm, seven days a week, with the objective of spotting dolphins from the shore.
Events offered by the Scottish Dolphin Centre include a monthly Community Litter Sweep during which participants clear litter from the west side of the Spey Bay Reserve. Themed guided walks help visitors to get acquainted with the wildlife both on land and in the water, while special events for children introduce them to the concepts of conservation in an entertaining manner.
Run by the global charity, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), the Scottish Dolphin Centre supports the WDC’s agenda to defend whales and dolphins against the threats of hunting, being held in captivity, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing nets, chemical and noise pollution, and climate change. The WDC works to support governments and decision makers that want to protect marine life, while exposing those who don’t. Through the media, exhibitions, events, education initiatives, websites and visitor centres, the WDC and organizations associated with it strive to educate and inform the public with regard to the importance of conservation, noting that “cruelty is unacceptable and extinction is forever”.