Loud noises from boats could scare dolphins and lead to the juvenile being separated from its mother

Sailors are being urged to stay away from a baby bottlenose dolphin spotted in the sea near Inverness, Scotland for the next month.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) charity field officer Charlie Phillips requests that sailors and crews of boats using the city’s harbour and marina and the Kessock Channel do not seek out the juvenile throughout October ‘to give the wee one time to grow.’

The baby dolphin is thought to have been born last Saturday, 20 September, and is described as being ‘still quite wrinkly’.

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

Mr Phillips photographed the pair on a brief boat trip so he could identify the adult dolphin. This information will be shared with Aberdeen University’s Lighthouse Field Station at Cromarty.

The adult is a female known as Kesslet, who already has a seven-year-old son, known as Charlie.

The Moray Firth and North Sea provide habitat for the world’s most northerly resident population of bottlenose dolphins. The species is protected by European Union rules.

Mr Phillips said: ‘We’re asking boaters not 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.’

Kesslet is the latest in three female dolphins, monitored by the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre, to have had a baby. Moonlight and Spirit, gave birth in August and at the beginning of September respectively.

WDC is the leading global charity dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales and dolphins.

All three mother dolphins are supported by the WDC Adopt a Dolphin scheme, visit http://uk.whales.org/adoptions/dolphins to find out more.

Picture credit: WDC/Charlie Phillips