We have just received the fantastic news that we have been successful in our small project grant application to Environment Wales. The grant - worth over £900 - will be used to purchase a 500mm lens for use with our land watch camera.
For the past eight years researchers from CBMWC have been photographing dolphins whilst out at sea on research surveys, in order to identify animals, usually by unique nicks, notches and scratches on the dorsal fin. In order to approach the animals close enough to photograph their fins, we need an official licence, the terms of which prohibit us from doing this in the harbour area because it’s felt this would set a bad example to recreational boaters and result in disturbance.
However, it's important to identify animals using the harbour area to build up a useful picture of how they use the site. Bottlenose dolphins have what are called home ranges and are frequently seen at specific sites each year. We are keen to discover how many of the same individuals revisit the New Quay harbour area and which other areas in Cardigan Bay are important to them.
Last year with grant aid from Natural Resources Wales we bought a camera to use during our land watch surveys to photograph the animals in the bay without disturbing them, but we've found we need a more powerful lens so the photographs are detailed enough to analyse. Unfortunately these are very expensive but thanks to this project grant from Environment Wales we can now extend our photo-ID work and find out if the same animals visit the harbour every day and whether they return year after year.
CBMWC would like to say a huge thank you to Environment Wales for this grant and their continued support of our project.