Scottish whale sightings surge

Whale and dolphin visitor numbers increase by 45 percent

Author: Pat
27th February 2012
 

Picture of Minke whales - © Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
There were a record number of whales and dolphins sighted off the Western Isles of Scotland last year.

That’s according to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, which collates the statistics.

good news for dolphin lovers too

Apparently sightings were up by around 45 percent in 2011, with a remarkable 22 Orcas (Killer whales) amongst the visitors. Fin whales were also seen, which are not only rare but also the second largest mammal on the planet after the Blue whale.

You might imagine whale-watchers would head for the Azores, Newfoundland, or other such spots, but in fact visitors flocked from Germany, France, Italy and Spain to see these magnificent cetaceans in the wild. Increasing numbers of people also travelled from Eastern Europe to see whales. Scottish tourist boards should take a bow.

The statistics are good news for dolphin lovers too, with 10,000 individual sightings. Pods of at least 250 animals were reported, while one ‘megapod’ appeared to contain more than 500 dolphins.

According to the HWDT’s figures, the Bottlenose Dolphin was the most frequent visitor last year, followed by Minke whales and Basking sharks.

Tourists and whale-watchers are advised that the best time to visit the Hebrides is between April and November, with June the optimum window to see whales and dolphins in Scottish waters.

 
 
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