Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dolphins attack on harbour porpoise in Moray Firth

Eight dolphins attacked a harbour porpoise
May 2013. An extraordinary attack on a harbour porpoise by a group of around eight bottlenose dolphins acting in 'tight formation' has been witnessed by a marine wildlife expert off Covesea Skerries near Lossiemouth on the south coast of the Moray Firth.

While attacks on porpoise by bottlenose dolphins are not unusual, North Grampian Regional Co-ordinator for the marine research charity Sea Watch Foundation, Alan Airey, says he has never before seen such an organised attack by a 'tight pack' of dolphins.

The attack happened while he was watching around eight bottlenose dolphins, and a mother and calf, leaping, feeding and surfing on the west side of the skerries on Friday 24 May, just as the Bank Holiday began. While the mother and calf remained feeding, slowly the behaviour of the other dolphins changed.

Tossed in the air
He says:" I also saw a porpoise quite close in heading east. Slowly the dolphins moved further west. Then at about 4.15pm, the eight dolphins started charging about shoulder to shoulder, and I realised they were attacking at least one porpoise. I saw a porpoise had been tossed in the air, with the pack all diving in after it. 

"Then I saw a porpoise swimming for its life right in front of the dolphin 'pack', the dolphins would surge forward as one as if trying to drown it by forcibly pushing it under, and then I saw another chase which resulted in a porpoise being tossed in the air again.

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