Where it began:
In 1993 boat surveys of the Shannon Estuary recorded 25 individual bottlenose dolphins through photo-identification. Since then the population has been extensively studied revealing that there were at least 145 individuals present In 2015, they are resident within the estuary but move to the nearby bays of Tralee and Brandon. They are also genetically discrete from all other Irish bottlenose dolphin populations. Acoustic monitoring is also used to identify areas of importance within the estuary.
The project is based out of the Shannon Dolphin Educational Centre in Kilrush, Co. Clare and is one of the longest running in Europe. It has facilitated many young researchers over the years to develop fieldwork and data handling skills while annually collecting photo-identification data on commercial dolphin watching boats (Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt and Dolphin Discovery, Kilrush) and dedicated survey transects to estimate the population’s size, calving rates and distribution which help evaluate the potential effects caused by the Shannon Estuaries continued industrialisation.
It is possible to see the Shannon Dolphins from the cliff tops of Loop Head. Do keep an eye out and report any sightings to the email@example.com
You can support this project by Adopting a Dolphin here.
All proceeds go directly to the Shannon Dolphin Project so your support will allow us to continue monitoring this population. Meet some of the regularly encountered Dolphins here. Meet Bob, Cú Chulainn, Fathom, Kevin Costner (yes!), Mist, Nala and Patch