Bottlenose baby boom for dolphins in Wales

This youngster was spotted on a survey out of Aberystwyth. Credit: Katrina Gillett, Sea Watch Foundation

Wildlife researchers have reported sightings of four newborn bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay in the last week, and are hoping to catch photos of a fifth on a special survey of the newborns.

Sea Watch Foundation monitor Cardigan Bay in West Wales, which has the largest coastal bottlenose dolphin population in the British Isles, and in the past week have encountered four different newborns in the area.

The research team use the calves’ close association with their mothers to tell them apart.

Four calves have been spotted in the last week. Credit: Katrin Lohrengel, Sea Watch Foundation

Some fun facts about our finned friends:

  • The Killer Whale (also known as Orca) is actually a type of dolphin!

  • Female dolphins are called cows, males are called bulls and young dolphins are called calves.

  • They are very social, and live in schools or pods of up to twelve dolphins.

  • They breathe through a blowhole on top of their heads, and communicate with each other by clicking and whistling - each dolphin has a 'signature' whistle that allows them to identify one another.

  • Dolphins have excellent eyesight and hearing as well as the ability to use echolocation for finding the exact location of objects, like bats.

  • Dolphins are altruistic animals, known to stay and help injured individuals, even helping them to the surface to breathe. Their compassion also extends across the species-barrier, with many accounts of dolphins helping humans and even whales.

  • Dolphins sleep by resting one side of the brain at a time, which allows them to continue rising to the surface for air and to keep an eye open to watch out for predators!