It would seem that dolphins are making quite an impressive leap in population numbers just off of the coast of Scotland. Recent surveys are booming over surveys conducted in the past, which is a testament to worldwide attempts to conserve the beautiful marine life that inhabits our oceans.
Image Credit: HWDT
According to a survey conducted in the region in 2016 by researchers, there were a grand total of 2,303 common dolphins, 42 bottle-nosed dolphins, and 94 Risso’s dolphins found. These numbers are multiple times greater than the averages of similar surveys conducted 14 years prior.
For reference, the average numbers over the 14-year period amounted to only 463 common dolphins, 14 bottle-nosed dolphins, and 12 Risso’s dolphins. It’s self-evident that these numbers are no simple ‘increase,’ from before, but rather than exponential population explosion.
It’s not 100% sure why the population numbers have grown so much in terms of the most recent survey, but conservationists aren’t complaining. This is great news because dolphins are adored by so many.
“The reasons for the high number of sightings of these charismatic dolphin species – and the broader effects on the marine environment and other species – remain unclear,” said Dr. Lauren Hartny-Mills of the Hebridian Whale and Dolphin Trust.
“But the intriguing findings highlight the importance of on-going monitoring and research – to strengthen our understanding of what is taking place in Hebridean waters, and to ensure well-informed conservation action,” she continued.
The oceans can be a difficult place for marine life to cope. Pollution and illegal hunting, among several other factors, has been causing a decline in marine life population over the decades. Pollution is one of the biggest factors, as our dumping of trash into the oceans causes a toxic environment for the animals to live.
In fact, it’s not just toxicity that can harm marine life, but the simple fact of ingesting it can clog up the animal’s digestive system, as seen in the case of this beached whale that needed to be euthanized because of it. This is a painful process that leads to marine life being unable to eat, and ending up malnourished as a result.
These incredible spikes in dolphin populations near Scotland still don’t take into account the rest of the world, however. One can only hope that every other region of the planet that’s home to these magnificent creatures could one day see this same positive surge in population.
Of course, people will have to stop putting T-shirts on our wild dolphins if that is ever to be the case.