Author: CBMWC Sarah

Living Seas Volunteer Coordinator


 Job Opportunity – Living Seas Volunteer Coordinator

We are seeking to recruit a Living Seas Volunteer Coordinator to join our Living Seas Marine Team

Salary: £17k per annum

Location: Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, New Quay, Ceredigion.

Hours: 35 hours per week with some evening / weekend work. Flexi/ TOIL offered. Start date ASAP July 2015

Deadline: 29th June Midday. Interviews will take place on 10th July.

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is the region’s leading wildlife charity. We are one of 47 Wildlife Trusts across the whole of the UK. We are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.

We have received support from the Volunteering in Wales Fund via Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) to employ a Living Seas Volunteer Coordinator and are looking for an energetic and outgoing person to work on our Discovering Living Seas project, to develop and implement the volunteering strategy for the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre including recruitment, volunteer development and training and to provide on-going support to and coordination of CBMWC volunteers and act as the point of contact for volunteer enquiries. The post holder will also be responsible for researching and implementing a volunteer accreditation scheme linked to our work and volunteering opportunities.
The role will primarily based at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, New Quay but also across the South and West Wales area.

The successful candidate will need to demonstrate their ability and experience of working with volunteers and understanding volunteer needs, preferably in a marine-related field, in particular relating to recruitment, coordination, training and communication.

This post is funded until the end of June 2016.

Please note that, as this post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, a satisfactory enhanced level Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosure check will be required for the successful candidate.

Application form can be downloaded here- CBMWC-LSVC-2015-application-form

Job description can be downloaded here JD Living Seas Volunteer Coordinator

Please note we do not accept CVs as applications for this post.

If you have any questions then please call 01545 560224 and ask to speak to Sarah Perry

Please send applications electronically to

Clean Coasts Week 2015


Clean Coasts Week 8-16 May 2015

Keep Wales Tidy, along with local community groups, McDonald’s restaurants, schools and businesses will be organising events across the country to clear beaches of unwanted litter and debris. This is the third annual Clean Coast Week and coincides with Clean Europe Week which aims to reduce litter and promote responsible behaviour across Europe.

Help us keep our coastline clean. In support of this initiative CBMWC has organised two beach clean events in New Quay for Saturday 9th (3-5pm) and Saturday 16th May (11-1pm). We’ll be cleaning Traeth Gwyn – the long sandy beach east of the main town beach. Please meet at the CBMWC at 3pm on Saturday 9th and 11am on Saturday 16th May or join us on the beach if you would like to help us. Wear sturdy shoes, but we’ll provide gloves, bags and litter picks.

We hope to see you there!

Megafauna hotspots: the missing link in marine protection

New report highlights the need to protect important places for whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks

Save Our Ocean Giants – the protected areas we need for whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks explains why The Wildlife Trusts want to see these hotspots (special areas on which these megafauna depend) and species protected by law.

The Wildlife Trusts - Save Our Ocean Giants Report

Save Our Ocean Giants

Download English version

Welsh version

Cewri’r cefnforoedd – cyfle i’w hachub

Llwytho i lawr y fersiwn Gymraeg

Common dolphin in Cardigan Bay

Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)

Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)

The marine ‘megafauna’ – whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks 
that are regularly found around our coast are all at risk from damaging activities and some species are in decline. Currently there are no areas of English waters protected specifically for them, and only one specifically designated for them in Wales. We think its time that changed.
The Wildlife Trusts are proposing four sites in Wales. Amendments to three existing Special Areas of Conservation, which should afford additional megafauna species protection and the designation of one new site, specifically for harbour porpoises. These are the places where these charismatic animals gather to feed, breed and socialise, and are worth protecting.

Proposed marine megafauna hotspot maps

Sites in Wales proposed by The Wildlife Trusts

The ‘megafauna hotspots’ The Wildlife Trusts want to see protected in Welsh waters are:

  1. North and west coasts of Anglesey – additional protection of harbour porpoises
  2. Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – additional protection of harbour porpoises and rissos dolphins
  3. Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – additional protection of harbour porpoises
  4. Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – additional protection of harbour porpoises

The areas marked on the map are the megafauna hotspots that The Wildlife Trusts in Wales would like to see protected. Some of these places already have designations as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) but unfortunately only one site has marine megafauna (bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay) listed as ‘primary features’ to be protected within them. This is why we are calling for either new conservation areas, or for these species to be recognised and protected within existing designated areas. For a more detailed map, please see the full technical report Megafauna hotspots: the missing link in our network of Marine Protected Areas which will be available at The Wildlife Trusts

Sarah Kessell, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, said:

“Continued monitoring of the occurrence of these enigmatic species is vital in order to increase our knowledge of how these species use the marine environment as well as to ensure the marine environment is healthy and functioning; species such as bottlenose dolphins have previously been described as sentinels of the health of the coastal marine ecosystems.

We all need to play an active role in minimising threats to these species as well as conserving; protecting, understanding and valuing marine habitats and species, ensuring future generations are able to enjoy our Living Seas.”

Find out how you can support our Living Seas work

The Wildlife Trusts are urging the public to sign an e-action which calls on the Welsh Government to take action to protect these species around our Welsh shores and secure a brighter future for them. Please see The Wildlife Trusts for more information.

Harbour porpoise

Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)

Common dolphin

Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

Bottlenose dolphin

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) are protected as primary features of the Cardigan Bay SAC and as qualifying features, but not primary reasons for site selection of the Pen Llyn a'r Sarnau SAC

Wanted: artist to dive and show the magic of our seas!

An artist prepared to take the plunge and seek inspiration beneath the waves is being sought by The Wildlife Trusts and the Society of Wildlife Artists.

The organisations’ Undersea Art Award will pay for an artist to undergo dive training with the opportunity to exhibit art inspired by marine life at the SWLA annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Previous winners have created wonderful art works to highlight the urgent need for Marine Conservation Zones.

The Undersea Art Award is launched in October 2014. Applicants have until Friday 27 February to say how they’d make the most of the experience. The award, established in 2007, provides a bursary for an established artist to learn to dive and then to work underwater off the coast, recording the wildlife of the sea. The works created to raise awareness of the plight of our marine life from around the UK coast range from paintings to sculpture.

Previous winners have included: painters, Esther Tyson from Derbyshire, Kim Atkinson from North Wales and Antonia Phillips who dived off the Dorset coast for inspiration. Another painter, Anna Kirk-Smith dived off the Yorkshire coast, while Harriet Mead, sculptor and President of the Society of Wildlife Artists, discovered the wonders of the Norfolk coast.

For more information and an application form please visit the Wildlife Trusts website

Monty the Cardigan Bay Bottlenose dolphin


A Cardigan Bay bottlenose dolphin found dead on a beach on the Lleyn Peninsular ‘died of asphyxiation’.

And the animal, known as Monty, was one of those photographed and identified by researchers at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) at New Quay. CBMWC’s science officer Sarah Perry was able to match marks on the animal’s dorsal fin to images in their Photo ID catalogue. “We know that Monty spent time in the southern part of Cardigan Bay in the summer and autumn of 2011”, said Sarah.

But it would appear that when Monty ventured further north he met an unfortunate end. When experts carried out a post mortem at the scene, at Hell’s Mouth, they found that his airways had been blocked by a small fish, a dab, in a freak accident, starving him of oxygen.

Rod Penrose, Strandings Co-ordinator for Wales who helped carry out the post mortem said the animal, an old male, was in generally good condition. “Its stomach was crammed full of fish, and I don’t think there would have been room for any more”, he commented. “So when it swallowed this last fish, it must have been pushed back rolled into a cigar shape, and unusually then lodged firmly in the nasal passages. “I’ve heard of this happening before but have never seen it.

Rod Penrose had praise for the help his organisation had received from CBMWC. “The fact that this animal has been identified as one of the resident Cardigan Bay dolphins means that we can possibly extrapolate our findings to tell us about the health of this important population”, he said.

But according to CBMWC’s Sarah Perry, the scientific work done by the organisation, much of it carried out by volunteers, could be under threat through lack of funds. “Sharing information with organisations such as Rod’s contributes to our understanding of the way the dolphins use the area and the general health and well-being of the population”, she said. “It also gives us details about individuals – for example we know from two photographs taken of Monty four months apart that he was involved in a fight at that time, because the second photo shows teeth marks on his fin that weren’t there in the first. These marks were a key feature we used to identify Monty.”

How we identified Monty

These photographs show how we identified Monty from dorsal fin photographs. We compared photographs taken shortly after he stranded to records in the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) Bottlenose dolphin Photo-identifcation catalogue.

Monty the Cardigan Bay Bottlenose dolphin

Photographs used to identify the stranded dolphin

CBMWC Monty the Cardigan Bay Bottlenose dolphin

Right side photographs of dorsal fin showing markings used to identify the stranded dolphin

Monty the Cardigan Bay Bottlenose dolphin

Left side photographs of dorsal fin showing markings used to identify the stranded dolphin

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre Bottlenose dolphin Photo-identification Catalogue 2011

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre 2011 bottlenose dolphin photo-id catalogue

CBMWC 2011 Bottlenose dolphin Photo-identification Catalogue

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre’s bottlenose dolphin photo-identification catalogue includes data and images collected during the 2005-2011 field seasons.

Bottlenose dolphins inhabit large areas of the world’s oceans from cold temperate waters to tropical seas (Carwardine, 2000). Cardigan Bay, Wales, is one place where these animals can reliably be sighted in the UK and for many years it has been known that it is an important area for bottlenose dolphins. The bottlenose dolphins found in Cardigan Bay are the focus of this long-term photo-identification catalogue compiled by the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre

To download the full report click here

BBC Wildlife Magazine

This months BBC Wildlife Magazine features CBMWC’s very own Science Officer Sarah Perry on the experts panel.
Turn to page 93 where you’ll find the Q&A section and you’ll be able to read Sarah’s answer to a question on bottlenose dolphins.

The issue also features other great articles including an article on looking for mermaid’s purses – the eggcases of sharks, skates and rays which can be found on beaches around the UK. Why not spend some time this Easter holiday on your local beach searching for a different type of Easter egg!

April issue of the BBC Wildlife Magazine is available from the 13th March

April 2013 | Discover Wildlife

Find out what is inside the April issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Identification of signature whistle types from the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) population of Cardigan Bay, Wales

Identification of signature whistle types from the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) population of Cardigan Bay, Wales by Helen Hiley (CBMWC 2011)

Helen volunteered with the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre during the field season in 2011. Following discussions between CBMWC’s Science Officer, Sarah Perry and researchers from the Sea Mammal Research Unit, St Andrews University we set up a hydrophone project, a collaboration which enabled Helen to collect data for her research project as part of her degree from St Andrews University.


The bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, produces individually distinctive signature whistles that hold identity information in the frequency modulation of the signal. These signature whistles aid in group cohesion and account for 50% of all whistles produced by free ranging dolphins. Britain is home to two large ‘resident’ dolphin populations, found on the east coast of Scotland and in Cardigan Bay, Wales, and one small population found on the west coast of Scotland. Acoustic work has been carried out on both Scottish populations but little or no work has been carried out on the Welsh. Focal group follows were used to record and identify signature whistle types of the free ranging bottlenose dolphin population found in Cardigan Bay. A total of 2,101 whistles were recorded over 35 encounters. This resulted in the identification of 11 signature whistles using a sequential analysis. The mean parameters of these signature whistles were then compared to 4 other free ranging populations and 1 captive population. The results showed significant variation in at least two parameters between the Welsh population and all other populations. Mean end frequency varied significantly from all other populations. The data show the first signature whistles identified from the Cardigan Bay dolphins and offer further insight into geographic signature whistle variation between populations.

Photo-identification match!

We have a match!
On Friday 13th January 2012 the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch carried out a boat survey to capture some photo-identification images of the bottlenose dolphins that have been sighted around the Island recently. Following on from their successful survey they posted some lovely images on the Manx Wildlife Trust facebook page. Having looked briefly at the photographs posted I thought I recognised at least one of the dolphins in the photographs. Sure enough having had a look at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre’s Bottlenose dolphin Photo-identification catalogue I can confirm that at least one of the dolphins seen by the Manx Wildlife Trust survey is a dolphin, known by CBMWC researchers as 056, and regularly visits Cardigan Bay. It has been photographed by researchers from the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre regularly since 2005. Usually photographed in Cardigan Bay throughout the summer months in the Cardigan Bay SAC. It’s very exciting to have information and evidence of where some of these dolphins are during the winter months when they are not seen in Cardigan Bay and it shows how important it is to share information gathered about the wildlife found in our seas. We have so much more to learn about these amazing creatures. Thanks to Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch and Manx Wildlife Trust for posting some of their photographs.
We have now matched fin images of three of the bottlenose dolphins photographed in Douglas Bay, Isle of Man on Friday to those that visit Cardigan Bay in the summer. For further coverage of this exciting news click here.
Join a dolphin Survey
In 2011 CBMWC and Dolphin Survey Boat Trips teamed up with Friends of Cardigan Bay to run regular full day research surveys out into Cardigan Bay to photograph the bottlenose dolphins that visit the area. We plan to run these surveys again in the 2012 season. We invite members of the public to join our research team on these surveys to experience dolphin research first hand and to help fund them. Anyone interested in joining one of the 2012 surveys should contact CBMWC on 01545 560224 or email and keep an eye out on our facebook page, twitter and our website for 2012 survey dates.

Common Seal

We had a most unusual visitor to New Quay today (4th January 2012) in the form of a young common seal. Common seals, also known as harbour seals, are not commonly seen around the coasts of Wales.

Britain is home to about 40% of the world populations of the grey seals and historically there have been only a few sightings of common seals along the Welsh coasts. These few sightings have mainly been along the north Wales coast around Anglesey and Bardsey Island and along the south Wales coast but the majority of common seals in the UK are found around the coasts of Scotland and along the east and south coasts of England.

You can compare the difference between an Atlantic grey seal and a common (harbour) seal in the second row of images above. The common seal (middle image) has “v” shaped nostrils and a more defined forehead whilst the grey seal (left and right images) has a much flatter forehead and its nostrils are parallel with a much wider septum between the nostrils.

Unlike their name suggests common seals are actually not so common. In the last few years scientists have seen a dramatic decline in the number of common seals in Scottish waters. There are a few theories as to why the common seals in Scotland are in decline and one of these is that they face competition for food from the more robust Atlantic grey seals. I wonder where todays visitor came from?

Keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and twitter as we’ll keep you posted on any news we receive about our little visitor.

UPDATE: Having contacted the RSPCA West Hatch Centre we have some very sad news. Unfortunately the seal had to be euthanised upon arrival as it was having breathing difficulties and had gone down hill rapidly and would not be able to  recover. Common (harbour) seals are not as hardy as Atlantic Grey seals and we have had some terrible storms in the Irish Sea over recent weeks which may have contributed to the seals weakened state.

Thanks to Dave Jarvis BDMLR and Sue Sayer from Cornwall Seal Group for confirming our thoughts as to the species identity of the seal.

Pembrokeshire Bird Group Conference 2011

Valero Refinery Pembroke are very kindly hosting the Pembrokeshire Bird Group Annual Conference on Saturday 26th November 2011. This is an all day event including lunch, morning and afternoon refreshments, speakers, quiz, raffle, etc. At £15 it is excellent value and all ticket receipts go directly to The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW). For tickets and further information please contact Wendy Barnes-Jones on 01239 621212.