Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Dolphin 'missing' from Scottish waters turns up off Isle of Man

Dolphin and calf in Peel Bay Image copyright JEREMY RIGBY
Image caption The dolphins are frequently spotted together in Peel Bay

A bottlenose dolphin that disappeared from Scottish waters has surprised scientists by showing up off the coast of the Isle of Man.

The dolphin, which was named Moonlight by marine biologists in Aberdeen, was last seen in the Moray Firth in 2018.

Moonlight gave birth in Manx waters in September 2019 but was only identified by the University of Aberdeen (UoA) team following a recent post online.

UoA's Dr Barbara Cheney said it was "nice to know she's safe and sound".

Dr Cheney said she recognised the animal as "one of the dolphins that we know very well" when she saw the post about a sighting off Peel.

"It's great and definitely a surprise for us, because we just didn't know where she was at all.

"It's nice to know she's safe and sound in the Isle of Man."

Image copyright Brian Liggins
Image caption Moonlight gave birth to a calf in September 2019

The mammal was one of a pod that had been monitored by scientists in Scotland since 1996.

Some of the other dolphins in the pod had been seen as far away as the Netherlands, but had since returned to Scotland.

However, the team said Moonlight was now considered to be "temporarily resident" in Manx waters.

Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch's Jen Adams said it was "really exciting", adding that it was "really unusual to have two [dolphins] that have appeared to have made their home here".

She said Moonlight had been recognised as "she's distinctive because she has two small cuts at the top of her dorsal fin".

She added that Peel's residents had come to "love being able to call Moonlight and her calf their own".

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