First ever Southwest Bottlenose Dolphin Forum being held in Cornwall

This weekend, experts from all over the UK and Europe are coming together in Cornwall to celebrate one of our most iconic species, with the first ever Southwest Bottlenose Dolphin Forum taking place on Saturday 29th October at the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus. Organised by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, in partnership with the University’s Marine Ecology Conservation Network (MECN), this ground-breaking event will bring together experts, volunteers and the public to action the conservation of Cornwall’s enigmatic dolphins by stepping up research programmes and getting our local population on Britain’s wildlife map.
First ever Southwest Bottlenose Dolphin Forum being held in Cornwall

Photo by Dan Murphy

In the Congo they have mountain gorillas. Here in Cornwall we have coastal bottlenose dolphins. Both are geographically distinct, highly intelligent, charismatic species loved by people. However sadly, both are fighting for survival in the wild against the pressures put upon them.

Abby Crosby, Marine Conservation Officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust says,

‘Many people do not realise how rare these animals are due to their regular use of inshore coastal waters and consequent frequent sightings, but according to the Trust's research via our Seaquest Southwest project, numbers sighted around our coast have halved since the 1990s. This decline in group size is particularly worrying as we know that the animals are reproducing, yet group numbers continue to go down.’

The good news is that the Trust’s 2015 Bottlenose Dolphin Appeal raised vital funds to enable further research plus a public awareness campaign that will give the evidence needed to lobby for better protection for these special animals. One such event organised as a result of the Appeal is the Southwest Bottlenose Dolphin Forum, where experts, volunteers, and interested members of the public can share knowledge and expertise.

Brendan Godley, Professor of Conservation Science at the University of Exeter and director of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation says,

“We are delighted to be hosting and contributing to such an important meeting that supports the work of the Trust and the network of deeply engaged stakeholders. The southwest bottlenose dolphins could have the potential to act as an important flagship for marine conservation in the region and University of Exeter staff and students in Cornwall are standing by to help in whatever way we can”.

The event is taking place this Saturday 29th October 2016 at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus. The event is fully booked, but interested members of the public are encouraged to get in touch with the Trust if they wish to be kept up to date with developments of our bottlenose work. Please contact abby.crosby@cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk for more information.