Bottlenose dolphins are now permanent residents of Yorkshire’s coast

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Bottlenose dolphins are now resident off the coast of Yorkshire all year round, according to monitoring by the local wildlife trust that suggests their population is spreading around the UK.

Dolphins found off Scotland often visit Yorkshire’s coast during the summer to feed, but sightings suggest they can now be found there even in winter.

The Wildlife Trust, which confirmed the sightings, said the shift could be down to a change in the location of local fish populations drawing the dolphins further south.

But it added that local residents could also be looking out for the animals more during the winter months when they would previously only keep an eye out during the summer.

The UK already has protected resident bottlenose dolphin populations off the coast of Cornwall, in the Moray Firth in Scotland and Cardigan Bay in Wales.

Discoveries show ‘spectacular’ life below the waves

The discovery of Yorkshire’s dolphins was just one of the marine finds revealed in the Wildlife Trust’s annual review of the UK.

“From ancient sea creatures to new species for science, the discoveries in this year’s marine review show just how spectacular life is below the waves,” said Lissa Batey, the head of marine conservation.

Findings include a new species of deep-sea coral, discovered at depths of 2,000m, 240 miles off Scotland’s west coast.

The Trust said the find was a sign of undisturbed natural habitat and an example of why the controversial fishing method of bottom-trawling should be banned to protect marine life.

The first ever swordfish was discovered off the Isle of Man, and Leicester and Rutland Wildlife Trust unearthed the fossilised remains of Britain’s largest ichthyosaur, a prehistoric “sea dragon”.

Sightings of whales show how populations are recovering, decades after the imposition of bans on commercial whaling, the Trusts said.

Among the sightings were a humpback whale near Brighton marina and a calf spotted near Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula.

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