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A rare attack by dolphin on porpoises (a small toothed whale with a low triangular dorsal fin and a blunt rounded snout) has been captured on camera in the north of Scotland.
At first, photographers thought the bottlenose dolphin was throwing a large salmon into the air as they feed on the species but a closer look at the pictures shown the rare sight.
The pictures were taken by Jamie Muny and Alister Kemp at Chanonry Point in the Moray Firth earlier this month.
Scientists at Sea Watch Foundation say such rare attack by dolphin, which took place in two separate incidents earlier this month, is rare and why the aggressive behavior is happening still need to be fully understood.
“The cause of these incidents is not clear, but aggressive interactions could be due to the high co-occurrence of the two species which can result in competition over a shared food resource, occasionally leading to the death of the smaller species, although other theories have included misdirected infanticide,” said Chiara Giulia Bertulli, sightings officer for Sea Watch Foundation.
“The changing testosterone levels in male dolphins could also influence the extent and seasonality of these attacks. The waters in the UK are incredibly rich for whales, dolphins and porpoises, and reporting sightings, whether they are of species displaying unusual behaviours or not, is a really important for Sea Watch as they are way to learn more about the many cetacean species occurring around the UK.”
“In the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours I’ve spent photographing the dolphins, I have never witnessed such an attack,” said Kemp.
Mr Muny said: “I was saddened and shocked by the whole event and at the same time there is a feeling in my heart that tells me that I am lucky to have witnessed this very rare event, but have no doubt it is something that I will not want see again, it was brutal.”
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