The West Coast of Scotland is one of the most
important habitats for whales, dolphins and porpoises in Europe. Twenty four species -
nearly a third of the world total - have been reported from this region, from the mighty
blue whale to the tiny harbour porpoise.
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) is a registered charity, established in
1994, which has pioneered the study of whales and dolphins around the Hebrides and the
West Coast of Scotland. Previously known as the Mull Cetacean Project, set up in 1990, the
project has expanded over the decade to include a wider area of the Hebrides and the North
East Atlantic and is involved in a wider range of issues. HWDT uses a unique combination
of education, research and awareness-raising to work towards the conservation of cetaceans
and the wider marine environment. It is establishing itself as a leader in cetacean and
marine conservation in Scotland.
- To raise awareness of whales, dolphins, porpoises and marine mammals in the Hebrides and
the threats they face through education and communication.
- To conduct research into cetaceans, their environment and associated species.
- To promote the truly sustainable use and value of the Hebridean marine environment by
working with the local communities of the Hebrides, promoting sustainable eco-tourism and
providing education, training and job opportunities.
EXAMPLES OF HWDT PROJECTS
- Reviewing environmental threats to cetaceans in the Hebrides.
- Studying the distribution of cetaceans in the offshore waters of West Scotland.
- Investigating seasonal abundance, distribution patterns and behaviour of minke whales.
- Investigating the effects of oil exploration on Scottish whales and dolphins.
- Developing contingency plans for wildlife rescue in the event of an oil spill in West
- The behavioural ecology of bottlenose dolphins in West Scotland.
- The impacts of military activities on cetaceans.
- Investigating levels of marine environmental awareness in the general public and
- The impacts of whale-watching and marine ecotourism in Scotland.
- School visits and children's activity days.
- Producing educational workpacks.
- Developing and maintaining an educational website .
- Producing educational CD-ROMS for schools.
- Talks, workshops and guided walks for the general public.
- Producing leaflets, posters and books about cetaceans and the marine environment in West
- An education centre in Tobermory, Isle of Mull.
- Courses and practical training for students and whale enthusiasts