WDC Whale and Dolphin Conservation

"Inspiring to encourage whale and dolphin watching to lead to their success on earth and not their demise” 
“Volunteering gives you purpose and encourages you to get out to see your local area, I have not been to this area in years”

Grant Awarded  - £270

Whale and Dolphin Conservation is dedicated to the global conservation and protection of whales and dolphins. 'Shorewatch' is their volunteer-led citizen science project, co-ordinated from the Scottish Dolphin Centre on the Moray Firth. Shorewatch collects land-based field data on whale, dolphin and porpoise activity from sites around Scotland and is helping to provide information on the distribution and abundance of cetaceans in Scottish waters required for effective conservation and planning decisions.

The Sea-Changers grant has helped WDC to establish a new Shorewatch site to systematically record cetacean activity in the Pentland Firth, an area which is experiencing increasing human development. The funding provided specialist equipment (e.g. binoculars, monopod and timer) needed by volunteers to conduct Shorewatches according to a rigorous scientific protocol.

WDC expects that the information gathered will help identify the area as a key cetacean habitat and that it will help to highlight risks to cetaceans and their environment.  The research will also monitor human activities, so helping to evaluate the impact people have on cetaceans using these waters. 


Two Shorewatch sites were set up on the island of Sanday in the Orkneys in partnership with the Sanday Ranger. At the initial training in March 2016, 10 volunteers were trained and the Ranger has agreed to train 5 more this year and to continue to train volunteers throughout the project.

Six Shorewatches were carried out in the first weekend of the Project. The Shorewatch officer will continue support volunteers remotely. The Sanday Ranger will encourage volunteers to take part in regular watching and will lead the data collection. With the partnership of the local ranger WDC feel that 100 Shorewatches within the year of the site is achievable


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