Highlands & Islands

Baby dolphin prompts Inverness boat warning

A baby bottlenose dolphin has been born in the sea near Inverness.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation field officer Charlie Phillips has asked that sailors and crews of boats using the city's harbour and marina and the Kessock Channel not seek out the juvenile.

He said loud noises from boats could scare dolphins and lead to the juvenile being separated from its mother.

Image copyright WDC/Charlie Phillips

Mr Phillips spent five minutes earlier this week photographing the pair so he could identify the adult dolphin.

The information he gathered on the short boat trip will be shared with Aberdeen University's Lighthouse Field Station at Cromarty.

The adult is a female known as Kesslet.

Image copyright WDC/Charlie Phillips

Kesslet has a seven-year-old son, dubbed Charlie, who has been seen hunting in the Kessock Channel and in the Moray Firth.

Image copyright Wdc/charlie phillips

The Moray Firth and North Sea provide habitat for the world's most northerly resident population of bottlenose dolphins.

Research published in 2012 suggested the population was "stable" with almost 200 animals. The species is protected by European Union rules.

Adults and juveniles can often been seen from the shores of the Moray Firth. In June, a Highlands-based photographer captured images of a young dolphin playing with a jellyfish in the firth.

Image copyright Wdc/charlie phillips

Mr Phillips said: "I was tweeting this morning to all and sundry to please, please take care if you are using a boat, large or small around the harbour, marina and Kessock Channel area and don't try to chase them or try to get a closer look as tiny babies can be scared easily by loud noises.

"They can be accidentally separated from mum - which would be fatal at this stage."

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