CONSERVATIONISTS are making a last-minute plea for people to help secure the future for threatened species off the Dorset coast.

West Dorset-based charity MARINElife launched the Bottlenose Dolphin Day Big Survey Crowdfunder Project last month to support dolphins as well as the globally-endangered bird the Balearic Shearwater.

Time is running out as it needs to raise £6,000 by this Friday towards a unique project to help safeguard the future of the creatures.

It comes after well-travelled dolphin Clet, which has distinctive scarring on its fin, was spotted again in the waters off Portland.

The project has already gathered great momentum and has support from the RSPB which is contributing to the survey costs, MARINElife’s patron Maya Plass, Garmin which has provided equipment and film company Big Wave TV which has produced a fundraising video.

If funding is secured, volunteers will board charter boats departing from Portland and other locations next month, supported by volunteers on the clifftops, to undertake the survey, the UK's largest.

It will cover the seas around the region from Dorset to Cornwall and around to North Devon.

Dr Rachel Davies, MARINElife’s Conservation Research Manager, said "This is one of the most exciting projects we have planned this year and is vital to truly understanding how many Bottlenose Dolphin live and breed in the waters of the south west.

"MARINElife has disproved theories that the south west has only a small population of Bottlenose Dolphins by cataloguing and photographing over 100 different animals over the last few years but only a limited area has thus far been covered looking for this mobile species.

"Completing this historic Bottlenose Day survey in a single day enables us to get a real understanding of their numbers and distribution over the whole of the south west and work more effectively for their protection."

The survey is also targeting the Balearic Shearwater. Just a few thousand breeding pairs of these birds remain in the world and each summer, many migrate from the Balearic Islands up the west coast of France, crossing the Channel before working their way around the south west coast.

South West RSPB spokesman Tony Whitehead said: "The RSPB is delighted to support this campaign. The information collected, including by RSPB staff and volunteers, on 18 August will help us find out so much more about the population of Balearic Shearwaters that use UK waters, especially in summer. This is the UK’s only globally critically endangered bird and it’s vital we learn about its habits, migrations and the places it favours so that we can afford the species proper protection.

To support the project visit


t: 01305 830983

e: martin.lea

twitter: @DorsetEchoMart