THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE UK’S SMALLEST CETACEAN IN OUR BUSIEST WATERWAY
The ‘porpoise’ of the project
Marine Conservation Research International (MCR) in partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and local interest groups, plan to conduct the first dedicated study of harbour porpoises in the tidal Thames during winter and summer 2015. The aim is to understand the seasonal presence and distribution, highlighting their important habitat, as well as quantifying the levels of marine litter, man-made noise and other human activities. The project will provide new and exciting insights into the mammal species in the tidal Thames, to inform future conservation efforts. We hope to show how remarkable the Thames and its resident wildlife truly are and why the elusive harbour porpoise needs your help and protection to survive.
Education and outreach:
The project will raise awareness of the wildlife in the Thames Estuary and the need to better protect the marine mammals in the UK’s coastal waters and estuaries. The team are working in local schools (developing new materials about Thames porpoises and their habitats), as well as with the general public through open days, volunteering schemes and outreach activities.
There are lots of ways you can help to study and protect the Thames Estuary and its wildlife:
• Follow the team and the survey on Facebook and Twitter.
• Join a shore watch – shore watches will be organised by our partners in London, Essex and Kent during our surveys and we need your help! If you are interested in joining a shore watch see more information here.
• Come visit us and meet the team. Come to our open day to learn about this project and get a tour of our research vessel. The next open day is on 8th March between 1pm and 4pm at Hermitage Community Mooring, East London.
• Report any sightings of marine mammals along the Thames to the ZSL Marine Mammal Map.
• Volunteer with Thames 21, Zoological Society of London or the Thames Estuary Partnership to study the health of the water, monitor fish species, conduct litter surveys and beach cleans.
• Follow ZSL’s Thames Marine Mammal Code of Conduct when you see a marine mammal in the Thames.
• Bin and recycle your rubbish: Even though the Thames is one of the cleanest city rivers in the world, 25 tonnes of rubbish are still collected from it every day. Wildlife, from fish to porpoises may be harmed by litter in our waterways. Make sure your rubbish is disposed of responsibly to save animals from becoming entangled in, or swallowing your waste.
• MCR International is funded from donations & grants. You can donate to help us continue our surveys & education projects. Donations go towards conservation of marine mammals.