Humpback whale tail Humpback whale tail

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All eyes on the sea for whales and dolphins

It’s National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2021, a time when the UK public is invited to take part in dolphin, whale and porpoise surveys around the country.

Earlier this month, concerns were raised about a humpback whale that surfaced a few metres from the Plymouth Sound and held up practice for the SailGP race event.

Photos revealed the whale may have been in poor nutritional condition and showed some ‘extensive healing injuries’ to its tail. British Divers Marine Life Rescue are monitoring the young mammal to learn more about any injuries and aid further veterinary assessment.

Humpback whales are found throughout the world’s seas, from polar regions to the tropics, though they are one of the UK’s less commonly seen marine mammals. Sightings tend to be in Scottish waters off Shetland Isles and Hebrides, though also increasingly the Northern North Sea.(1)

Sea Watch Foundation’s 2021 National Whale and Dolphin Watch (NWDW) is from Saturday 24 July through Sunday 1 August. Everyone in the UK is invited to take part in dolphin, whale and porpoise surveys happening around the country. Data collected during the event provides a snapshot of the distribution of dolphins, whales and porpoises in our waters. All sightings are entered into Sea Watch’s database of observation records used to inform cetacean conservation initiatives.

NWDW participants have recorded over 30 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise, most commonly bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and minke whale. In 2020 there were 1,348 sightings and a total of 9,784 animals.

To learn more and take part in this year’s watch, visit the Sea Watch Foundation’s NWDW page, or explore recent sightings.

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(1)^ The Wildlife Trusts, 2021. Humpback Whale.