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Displaying items by tag: Dolphin

#orca – Crews from commercial and Royal Navy vessels have started training for the Orca Ocean Watch Week, an initiative by the whale and dolphin conservation charity ORCA, that is being launched at Portsmouth International Port this month.

Between 25th July and 2nd August bridge crews are being asked to report all sightings of whales, dolphins and porpoises as they sail to and from Portsmouth International Port. The records they produce will help ORCA develop the clearest picture yet of just where the much loved marine mammals are living.

The enthusiastic team from ORCA have spent time training crews from a wide variety of operators, including the banana boats that come and go on a regular basis from the Caribbean and Central America. They've also spent time with the Royal Navy, briefing crews from Portsmouth based vessels.

The Royal Navy ships HMS Smiter, HMS Puncher, HMS Explorer and HMS Trumpeter will be sailing through the English Channel, down into the Northern Bay of Biscay and up into the Baltic Sea. These ships are among 11 vessels contributing to the activity from the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron that are operating all over Western Continental Europe and the British Isles.

Lieutenant Commander Phil Houghton of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron said, "The Royal Navy and in particular 1PBS are delighted to be able to participate in OceanWatch 2015 and do what they can to support the better appreciation of the complex and vulnerable marine environment in which we operate. Only by understanding the animals and habitats around our local waters can we provide the appropriate protection for them."

Orca Ocean Watch Week will be launched on Monday 20th July by television wildlife expert Nigel Marven. Nigel will be joined at the new passenger terminal at Portsmouth International Port by a 50 foot, life-sized model of a blue whale, and school children eager to learn more about the variety of wildlife in the seas off Portsmouth.

By the time Ocean Watch Week is underway ORCA will have trained crews from over 20 vessels, including ferries, freight ships, cruise liners and small ships.

If you're interested in spotting these fantastic animals yourself, Brittany Ferries and ORCA offer Whale Watching mini cruises from Portsmouth, an increasingly popular trip across the Bay of Biscay, which is one of the most important habitats for whales and dolphins on the planet. ORCA is also working with operators at other ports along the South Coast and Scotland, attempting to get the widest coverage possible for its important survey.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - Cute by name, cute by nature: Sherkin, Buoy and Splash were returned to the wild after being nursed back to health by the volunteers at Seal Rescue Ireland.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the three young seals – rescued after tips from the public from locations in Cork and Kerry – were rehabilitated over the past three months at the new marine wildlife refuge in Courtown.

But they were finally fit to return to the open water last weekend at Fountainstown beach in Co Cork. The Irish Examiner has much more HERE.

As three return to Irish waters, another says adieu – as Clet the lone dolphin has now been spotted off the Dorset coast, according to the Bournemouth Echo.

Last spotted between Ireland and Scotland's west coast in December, the solitary cetacean first noted in French waters in 2008 appears to have completed a full loop around the island of Ireland.

Along the way he bypassed Dingle's famous resident Fungie and spent a few days in the company of fellow 'dolphina-non-grata' Sandy, also known as Dusty.

Now he's attracting the attention of locals at Portland, south of Weymouth, across the English Channel from his original splashing grounds.

Closer to home, conservationists in the the North West of England have released a video documenting the wealth of wildlife living in the Irish Sea as a reminder to political movers and shakers of the importance of its protection.

Groups such as the North West Wildlife Trusts have criticised Westminster for 'lack of ambition' over the past year since plans for a network of well over 100 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) were scaled back to just 27 approvals in November 2013.

More recently a further 23 MCZs were designated proposed, only two of which are out of out of seven proposals covering the waters between Britain's west coast and Ireland (updated Tuesday 17 March).

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The swimmer who suffered serious injuries when she was attacked by Doolin's formerly resident dolphin has spoken of the "pure terror" of the incident last summer.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the woman was hospitalised after being stuck by the snout of Dusty the dolphin, whose behaviour had grown increasingly hostile towards swimmers in the Co Clare harbour over the summer.

Valerie Ryan spoke out some weeks later over the incident, calling for a total swimming ban in the area as she outlined the extent of her injuries, which included eight spinal fractures, two broken ribs and lung damage.

More recently, she recounted her experience for the Guardian, noting how Dusty "went ballistic" after she entered the water to join another swimmer ("I found out afterwards that she's very territorial when she us with somebody") and rammed Ryan from behind before she could climb out.

"All these people on the pier were staring down at me open-mouthed," she recalls. "Dusty was still in the water beside me, her tail flapping crazily. That was more frightening than anything: I thought, if she hits me with her tail, I could go under; I’m gone."

Yet despite the shock of that day, Ryan says she doesn't have "any anger towards Dusty. I respect her. But I was in her territory and she’s a wild, unpredictable animal. People need to know that."

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Mirror reports on marine researchers' extraordinary find of an albino bottlenose dolphin in the waters between Italy and Croatia.

Albus, as he has been named by the scientists, is one of only 20 known albino dolphins worldwide, and is believed to be the first spotted in the entire Mediterranean Sea.

The Irish Mirror has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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'Ireland's Ocean' is a major new four part ocean wildlife series for RTÉ One exploring the wonderful and diverse creatures that live in the seas around Ireland, from dolphins and sharks to plankton and the myriad of tiny colourful creatures that live in our shallow waters.

The series looks at the history of man's relationship with and response to the sea in Ireland, examining the common perception of creatures like dolphins and sharks ... are dolphins highly intelligent, sensitive creatures capable of healing sick children? Why are worrying numbers of dolphins washing up dead on our Atlantic coast? Are sharks terrifying animals waiting below the sea surface to eat us?

The truth transpires to be quite a surprise and leaves us with considerable food for thought. In other areas, the series takes us on a journey into wild and the colourful underwater world in the seas around Ireland, encountering an abundance of exotic creatures, many documented for the first time in this area.

Throughout the programmes, there is a strong sense of the interconnectedness of life, and natural balance within this world, as creatures depend on each other's presence to sustain life.

The first programme this Sunday takes a look at some of the 27,000 common dolphins living in Irish waters with scientists Dr Joanne O'Brien and Dr Simon Berrow.

The second programme, Sunday 29th June at 6.30pm gets up close with some of the 40 shark species and 30 ray species that live in Irish waters with Dr Maurice Clarke at the Marine Institute, as well as following the conservation efforts of Dr. Edward Farrell, Irish Elasmobranch Group, placing satellite tags on porbeagle sharks off Donegal, in a Marine Institute research programme.

Programme three focuses on life in the shallow seas around Ireland which are some of the most fertile on Earth. Storms churn up nutrients from the sea floor which combine with sunlight to create a fertile and abundant ecosystem.

The final programme looks at Ireland's ocean habitats.

Ireland's Ocean begins on Sunday June 22nd at 6:30pm on RTÉ One and runs for four weeks.

'Ireland's Ocean' was produced by Sea Fever Productions for RTÉ and financed under the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's Sound & Vision scheme, and also by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#dolphinstrandings – As Afloat.ie reported earlier, a  County Mayo woman Ina Kruger successfully rescued a stranded dolphin at Easter on Keem beach, Achill. Originally rescued on Easter Sunday, the dolphin returned to the beach where the body of a second dolphin was discovered. Fortunately, the second rescue attempt was more successful and the dolphin hasn't been seen since. 

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed that a dead dolphin calf found washed up near Doolin in Co Clare almost three years ago was likely born to Dusty the dolphin, who's been the subject of much controversy over recent weeks.

Dr Simon Berrow of the IWDG writes that a sample was taken from the dead calf and stored for future genetic analysis. Similar samples were collected from Dusty by local diver and award winning photographer George Karbus, and these were sent to marine researcher Marie Louis at the Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, France as part of her PhD project.

Louis recently analysed these samples and determined that Dusty and the calf shared the same haplotype, a genetic marker that points to a very likely relation between the two dolphins.

"Given the recent behaviour of Dusty in Doolin and suggestions locally that she gets more aggressive when she is pregnant, this latest analysis is relevant as it shows that Dusty is sexually mature, interacts and mates with other dolphins and has at least on one occasion had a calf," writes Berrow.

Last week the victim of an attack by the 14-year-old female bottlenose dolphin at Doolin has called for a total swimming ban in the area.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - A fantastic snapshot of a surfing dolphin has netted a Clare-based photographer the prestigious top prize at the British Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, as the Mail Online reports.

Czech-born George Karbus captured the winning image, titled 'In the Living Room', while diving off Ballintoy in Co Antrim, when he encountered the "playful" bottlenose dolphin "that suddenly started to surf the deep tube inside the waves".

As reported by TheJournal.ie, Karbus added: “Water visibility is always very limited in Ireland, and I was very lucky to get a shot like this.”

The photographer also topped the coastal and marine category at this year's awards, and his prize photo will be featured in a book compiling the top entries.

Karbus was previously featured on Afloat.ie in 2011 for his stunning images of fin whales and dolphins feeding off Hook Head in Co Wexford.

Published in Marine Photo

#DolphinAttack - A woman who suffered serious injuries after being struck by the snout of Doolin's dolphin resident Dusty has criticised the lack of warning signs in the harbour at the time.

As RTÉ News reports via the Irish Independent, Valerie Ryan is calling for a total swimming ban in the area after suffering eight spinal fractures, two broken ribs and lung damage in the incident on 28 July last.

The self-employed osteopath has been forced out of work for six months due to her injuries.

Hers was the fourth such altercation with Dusty, a 14-year-old female bottlenose dolphin, recorded at that point this summer.

It has since emerged that the dolphin may have been acting aggressively in reaction to mistreatment by certain members of the public on various occasions.

Warning signs have since been erected in the area by Clare County Council, in line with advice from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group that no one should swim with any of the whales or dolphins that frequent Ireland's waters - activity that puts both humans and cetaceans at risk.

"This dolphin is a wild animal and people should take serious account of that," said Liam Griffin, water safety officer with Clare County Council.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - A dolphin from the Irish Sea that became stranded on sandbanks in the River Dee in North Wales was safely transported back to deeper waters aboard Flint’s inshore RNLI lifeboat.

RNLI volunteers from Flint were called to Airbus UK’s loading facility, just downstream from Saltney Ferry, at around 11.30am on Thursday morning (22 August) to attend to the dolphin that was in difficulty in the shallows of the river estuary.

RNLI lifeboat operations manager Alan Forrester confirmed that the crew put the dolphin inside a stretcher for transfer to the lifeboat, and that a representative from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue was on board to monitor the cetacean's condition.

"The dolphin is a fair size, so we’ll go at a very slow pace until we reach deeper waters, where we will be met by the Rhyl all-weather RNLI lifeboat," said Forrester during the mission.

The dolphin, originally named 'Dave', has since been renamed 'Davina' after she was identified as being female.

Davina was released around the North Rhyl Flats as if she were set free in any shallow waters it's feared she would become stranded again.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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