Resident Cork Harbour Dolphins

28th Jul 2010 Since at least February 2006, six bottlenose dolphins have been resident in the mouth of Cork Harbour. They have been observed mostly between Crosshaven and Power Head (but have also been photographed in Kinsale Harbour) in all seasons and appear to have predicatable movements based on tidal conditions.

Cian Ryan (IWDG) regularly sees the pod while fishing. On 23 July he noticed a neonate amongst the usual suspects, being less than half the body length of the others and noticeably paler.

A team of postgraduate students from UCC who are studying this species went out to investigate. Jessica Leahy and Anneli Englund (UCC) photographed the calf swimming alongside the other dolphins, which will help us to establish who the mother is after the photo ID matching has been completed.

This is fantastic news and indicates that the dolphins are doing well in Cork Harbour. However, having witnessed reckless driving and persistent harassment towards the dolphins by boat users regularly in the past, we would ask boat users to be extra cautious given the presence of a very young calf which will be less accustomed to the presence of boats.

A paper on the movements and residency of these dolphins has been accepted for publication in the Irish Naturalists' Journal and will be published in the coming months.

Conor Ryan, IWDG

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