2019 round up!

Categories // Whale & Dolphin General News

2019 round up!

Well what a year 2019 was!

2019 saw another incredible year for ORCA, with Cruise Conservationists, Wildlife Officers and volunteer surveyors travelling further afield than ever before and surveying more of our oceans to help protect whales, dolphins and porpoises.

During the year data was collected by Citizen Scientists on:

  • 113 ferry surveys across 12 ferry routes with 5 different companies
  • 27 cruise ships with 6 companies
  • 5 Sea Safaris
  • 4 Wildlife Officer programmes in the Hebrides, English Channel, Bay of Biscay and North Sea.

From these surveys over 37,000 animals were recorded – a record number for ORCA! This number included 30 different species of cetaceans and 14 different pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walrus). Common dolphins were the most commonly seen species with a grand total of 16,212 recorded! This was followed by the harbour porpoise and striped dolphin. We even had some more unusual sightings including black bear, rays and even a polar bear!

During the year data collected by our volunteers also helped us to achieve some exciting research. A publication was released in collaboration with University College London and The Natural History Museum looking at an additional pair of teeth found in True’s beaked whales in the Bay of Biscay – this was only possible because it was sighted by our volunteers on board a Jessops Photography Sea Safari. And following current concerns over an increasing number of common dolphins stranding, we are also in the process of releasing a long term publication in collaboration with Plymouth University on common dolphin densities in the English Channel, Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay – this was only possible because of our wonderful volunteers who have helped us collect this data for many years!

A huge thank you to all of our incredible volunteers who make all of this work possible. It is because of all of you that we are able to collect a long-term data series throughout Europe and beyond. So thank you for helping us help these cetaceans! The data collected by our volunteers is then able to be used to support cetacean conservation and help to influence policy makers.

We also would like to express our thanks to all of our ferry and cruise partners for their collaboration and support of our work and for allowing us on board their vessels.