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Scotland tops dolphin and whale watching survey

Reports received during the watch amounted to around 6,500 individual animals.

Dolphins and whales were most commonly seen in Scotland over any other part of the UK, according to new figures.

There were 608 sightings north of the border – representing 43% – during the survey, compared with 555 in England and 231 in Wales.

The National Whale and Dolphin Watch 2017 saw about 2,500 volunteers take part around the country between July 29 and August 6.

Kathy James, sightings officer for Sea Watch, said: “By taking part, people are directly contributing to their conservation.

“The wonderful thing about watching for whales and dolphins in the UK is that you don’t necessarily have to get on a boat to see them.”

Reports of cetaceans – the collective term for the animals – received during the watch amounted to around 6,500 individuals “captured” by the survey.

Harbour porpoises were most commonly recorded at 697, making up half of records, while Bottlenose dolphins came in second with 224 sightings.

Killer whale seen off Shetland during the event (Rhona Clarke)

Killer whales were seen 39 times in waters around Shetland, Orkney, the north and the west coast of Scotland – with the largest group consisting of seven animals around Shetland.

South Grampian saw an average of almost five of the sea mammals and hour – more than five times the UK rate.

Meanwhile observers around the Channel Islands reported 11 sightings, five around the Isle of Man and none in Northern Ireland.

Volunteers are being sought for the next cetacean watch which takes place between July 28 and August 5.

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