As some of you may know we are very lucky to be visited by many different marine animals along the coast of the West Highlands of Scotland. Most people are in awe of these beautiful creatures and wish them no harm, however recent events have made us and the Local Ranger Service aware that not everyone is as thoughtful. (Please note: the event was not in Achmelvich and was not caused by someone from our site.)
Unfortunately, there are some very irresponsible people who can cause great distress to them, one of the signs of this is the mothers and young being split up and therefore the young die - some end up beached and most do not survive (the nearest Wildlife Centre is hours away.)
Therefore, the Ranger Service dropped this information down to me and it will also be available on site as well. It is mainly directed at boat users but, can everyone please be sure to read so that you can report anything if needed. You are welcome to do so at the house or site shop anytime. If you ever see an animal (in the sea or on the land) in distress please inform us ASAP
PLEASE BE MARINE WILDLIFE AWARE
The seas around Assynt is stunning an is home to some of the World's most beautiful and charismatic animals - Whales, Dolphins, Porpoise ("cetaceans"), Basking Shark, Sun Fish, Seals and Otters.
But, we all need to be aware that careless use of boats can and sadly does result in the injury and death of some of these animals every year.
Here are some basic steps you can take to help protect our Marine Wildlife
- If you sight cetaceans at a distance, make forward progress maintaining a steady speed, slowing down to less than six knots when you are within a kilometre of them
- Do not approach closer than 100 metres of the animals
- Do not remain in contact with the animals for longer than 15 minutes
- Do not chase cetaceans, drive a boat directly towards them, or encircle them : YOU MAY SPLIT UP MOTHERS AND THIER YOUNG
- If they choose to approach your vessel, or bow-ride, maintain a steady speed and course
- Do not respond to them by changing course or speed in a sudden or erratic manner; slowing down or stopping suddenly can confuse and alarm cetaceans as much as sudden acceleration
- Allow groups of animals to remain together, DO NOT deliberately drive through, or between, groups, or chase them, however slowly
- Remember that is an OFFENCE to kill, injure, intentionally or recklessy disturb any of these marine animals
This is a brief outline of how to behave responsibly in the presence of dolphins, whales and porpoises. Remember, you don't speak dolphin.
For full information on the Codes of Conduct relating to marine animals visit www.wisescheme.org
If you see someone behaving irresponsibly around marine animals please contact the local Police Wildlife Crime Officer on 101