Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-2

Contents

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pp. 3-4

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About this guide

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p. 5

This guide is divided into sections, each of which can either be used in isolation or in conjunction with another. There are sections covering the practicalities of how to look for marine mammals in order to optimise both the viewing experience and the chance of a successful identification (even after what may have been a brief encounter), and of...

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The seas around Britain and Ireland

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pp. 6-7

As an island sitting on the edge of the continental shelf, with the deep Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and warmer subtropical waters relatively close by, Britain is ideally placed both to host a rich resident marine mammal fauna and to...

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What is a marine mammal

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pp. 8-11

Marine mammals are not a distinct biological grouping, but are defined instead as mammals that have a reliance upon the marine environment for feeding – although not necessarily for breeding. Hence...

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Marine mammal families

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pp. 12-15

With the exception of the Minke Whale, all baleen whales that may be encountered in British waters are large to very large. They include the Blue Whale, the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth. Baleen whales do not possess teeth,...

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Observing marine mammals

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pp. 16-25

One of the joys, and at the same time frustrations, of cetacean watching is its unpredictability. Even though some species are resident year-round and others are migratory, and some species favour shallow inshore waters whilst others prefer deep waters beyond the coastal shelf, when...

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Where to watch Britain's marine mammals

The coastline of Britain and Ireland extends to over 26,000 km (16,000 miles) and supports a wide variety of marine habitats The potential for those looking for cetaceans or pinnipeds is, therefore, vast and the aim of this section of the book is to highlight those locations that...

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Locations: Seals

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pp. 28-29

While both Grey and Common Seals may be encountered around much of the British coast, both species’ propensity for using the same sites year-on-year for hauling out and...

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Locations: Cetaceans

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pp. 30-41

South West England is eff ectively a large peninsula protruding into the Atlantic. It should therefore come as no surprise that with close proximity to deep water comes a wide variety of cetacean species. Since 1980, 17...

BRITAIN'S SEA MAMMALS

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BRITAIN'S SEALS

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pp. 42-57

Two species of seal occur year-round on Britain’s coastline – Grey and Common (or Harbour) Seals They are both widely distributed, with Grey Seals, for example, being found at all geographic extremities – from the North Cliffs of Cornwall to the islands of Shetland, and even hauled out on...

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BRITAIN'S CETACEANS

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pp. 58-116

There are a dozen cetacean species that occur regularly in British waters; these include permanently or seasonally resident species that inhabit shallow inshore waters around the coasts and those that occur...

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Threats and conservation

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pp. 117-118

For a nation that prides itself upon its maritime history, our track record in marine conservation is somewhat chequered. In living memory, whales were still being hunted commercially in British waters, and it is not so long ago that the...

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Recording and getting involved

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p. 118

Records of marine mammal sightings help to build an increasingly comprehensive and accurate picture of the distribution and state of health of our marine wildlife. With the advent of relatively cheap and high quality digital...

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Stranded cetaceans and marine mammal rescue

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p. 119

Occasionally, cetaceans strand upon our shores, either dead or still alive. Similarly, injured seals may be encountered from time to time. Animals found under such circumstances should, if still alive, be reported immediately to marine...

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Observation guidelines

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pp. 120-121

There are no formal, legally binding guidelines for viewing seals on land in Britain. They should be treated in the same way as when one watches any wild animals – with common-sense,...

Further reading

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p. 122

Useful addresses and web resources

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p. 123

Photographic and artwork credits

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pp. 124-125

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Acknowledgements

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p. 126

The authors would like to say a special thank you to the following people for their invaluable help and assistance in this project: Chiara G Bertulli (Faxafloi Cetacean Research), Brian Clews (WildGuides), Anne Donnelly (Shetland Wildlife), Paul Harvey (Shetland Biological Records Centre), Jim Irvine, John Lowrie Irvine (MV Zephyr), Tom and Cynthia Jamieson...

Index of English and scientific names

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pp. 127-128