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New project to monitor dolphins

31 January 10 14:33 GMT

A new project will monitor white-beaked dolphins and other marine wildlife off the Northumberland coast.

Natural England and the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club is funding the project which will take place at Farne Deeps.

The dolphin lives around the coast of the UK and experts say it is vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

A photographic database of the dolphins will be compiled to identify individual animals.

A sightings website and postcard survey will also be launched for fishermen, recreational dive and angling boats, and yachtsmen to submit any sightings of white-beaked dolphin and other cetacean species.

Study

The project partnership includes Marinelife, Natural England, the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club, the University of Aberdeen, and Northern Experience Wildlife Tours.

Natural England has pledged £17,700 to the project and the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club, £1,000.

Marinelife has been studying these dolphins as well as other marine mammal species and seabirds off the south west coast of the UK for a number of years.

Dr Tom Brereton, research director for Marinelife, said: "Our work along the coast of the south west has provided useful information on the distribution of white-beaked dolphins and their preferred habitats and this project will help complement and extend the existing work.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests that the area around the Farne Deeps will be important not only for white-beaked dolphins, but also for wintering seabirds".

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