Ferry companies help out in large wildlife survey

Orca wildlife officers Katrina Gillett, left, and Anna Bunney, in front of Swan Hellenics cruise ship Minerva in Portsmouth
Orca wildlife officers Katrina Gillett, left, and Anna Bunney, in front of Swan Hellenics cruise ship Minerva in Portsmouth
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‘Amazing’ people are recognised at 20th annual event

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FERRY passengers and staff contributed to a major marine wildlife survey.

Holidaymakers travelling from Portsmouth International Port joined marine wildlife experts to help with the second annual Orca OceanWatch event.

Brittany Ferries crossings carried Orca wildlife officers during Orca OceanWatch, which took place over the first week of the school summer holidays.

Bridge crews spotted and recorded data on whales, dolphins and porpoises, while wildlife officers helped passengers to understand more about the creatures.

The Portsmouth-based marine wildlife charity was hoping to build on the success of last year’s event which saw nearly 2,000 individual cetaceans from 16 different species recorded over nine days.

The information helps the charity to understand more about the habitats and distribution of the mammals.

Anna Bunney, Orca’s community wildlife officer, said: ‘We built up an even bigger picture of the cetaceans in our waters, as well as increasing awareness of these amazing animals which can be seen right on our doorstep.’

This year, a cruise ship carried an Orca wildlife officer for the first time.

Swan Hellenic’s Minerva was heading to the Channel Islands through the Bay of Biscay to Portugal and Spain before heading back to Portsmouth.

Martin Putman, port manager, said: ‘Spotting whales and dolphins from ferries and cruise ships can be an exciting part of the holiday for anyone sailing from Portsmouth.

‘I’m delighted that Orca OceanWatch was even bigger and better this year, and that passengers were able to take part in gathering vital data for the charity.’

For more information go to orcaweb.org.uk/get-involved/oceanwatch