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Surveillance order for aggressive dolphins

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SEVEN DOLPHINS participated in ‘porpicide’ in Cardigan Bay this weekend when they aggressively attacked a young harbour porpoise.

The dolphins involved have now been photographed and are under observation due to their behaviour.

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre’s Marine Team participated in a four hour dolphin survey this weekend as part of The Wildlife Trust’s Dolphin Survey Boat Trips.

However, part way through their survey they witnessed seven Bottlenose dolphins acting aggressively towards a young harbour porpoise. The marine team were amazed to witness the dolphins acting aggressively in that manner and proceeded to observe and document the event.

Sarah Perry, Wildlife Trust Living Seas Science Officer, said: “For decades we have known that Bottlenose dolphins attack harbour porpoises, an act known as ‘porpicide’, a behaviour that has been documented around the world. However, the reasons for these attacks remains poorly understood. Various theories have been proposed including prey competition, objectorientated play, practising infanticide and heightened aggression in male Bottlenose dolphins. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time we have observed this behaviour in the Cardigan Bay Bottlenose dolphins. In 2014, we observed this behaviour first-hand on four separate occasions”.

Cardigan Bay Marine Team photographed the dolphins involved prior to the latest encounter and are now continuing to document and observe their behaviour. At least two of the dolphins involved were males, two were females and there were also two young dolphins in the group – including one dolphin that had faint foetal folds visible, which suggests it was less than a year old.

Sarah Perry continued to say: “Although slightly distressing, observing aggressive behaviour such as this is fascinating to both members of the public and researchers alike. Most days I am left in awe of the dolphin’s power and stealth and hunting abilities. Their behaviours and social systems are complex and encounters with these animals never fail to amaze me. There is no doubt that the Bottlenose dolphins of Cardigan Bay are an inspiration to everyone that is lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them as they go about their daily lives, myself included.”

Encounters such as this demonstrate that we still have a lot to learn about these enigmatic creatures, showing that it is vitally important that we all make an effort to conserve our seas and the marine environment we live in for future generations to enjoy, be inspired and learn from such events.

For further information on vital research work carried out by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales or Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, please visit www. welshwildlife.org or www.cbmwc. org.

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Another man charged in Ifan Owens assault case

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Ifan Owens: Seriously assaulted in January

ANOTHER man has been charged and remanded into custody in relation to the serious assault of Ifan Owens, aged 19, in Aberystwyth on January 14.

Michael Arwyn Jones, 24, has been charged with S18 Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent and Possession of Cannabis.

Last week, Billy Valentine, 19, of Terrace Road, Aberystwyth, and David Lloyd, 25, of no fixed abode, entered no pleas when they appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court.

The pair were sent to trial at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am.

Due to the serious nature of the offence, Lloyd’s bail was revoked.

The court found there was a real risk he would abscond or re-offend.

As well as being charged with grievous bodily harm, he was also charged with having a blade exceeding 3 inches in a public place without good reason or lawful authority.

Valentine was also charged with being in possession of herbal cannabis as the time of his arrest. This was by Magistrates, who gave him a 12 month conditional discharge, and ordered him to pay £20 to fund the victims of crime, and £85 to the Crown Prosecution Service.

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Consultation to launch today on future of health services in Ceredigion

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD are formally announcing the launch of their consultation at County Hall in Haverfordwest this morning (Apr 19).

The proposals, the Board say, will shape the future provision of health and care services to the general population.

These provisions will be ‘safe, viable and offer an improvement to what is currently provided’.

The Herald will be attending the event, which starts at 9:30am.

You can watch a live stream here.

The 12-week consultation, which is clinically-led, will involve a number of events for communities, both general and targeted, as well as an awareness raising campaign.

It is expected that the announcements will have big changes for Withbyush, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Bronglais hospitals.

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Issue of lifeboats raised to Prime Minister

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BEN LAKE MP made his Prime Minister’s Questions debut, raising the important issue of the future of Cardigan Bay’s lifeboat provision.

On Thursday (Apr 18) Mr Lake commended the valiant efforts of RNLI staff and volunteers at New Quay lifeboat station who have been safeguarding those who venture out into the bay, be it for work or pleasure, since 1864.

He also expressed concern at the possibility that there will no longer be an all-weather lifeboat in Ceredigion from 2020.

Mr Lake asked the Prime Minister whether she would agree ‘that the invaluable work of the RNLI serves as a fourth emergency service, and that as such it is essential the coastline of Ceredigion, like every other populated coastline, has access to this service whatever the weather?’

The Prime Minister responded: “Search and rescue at sea is provided by several organisations, including the coastguard and the RNLI. The RNLI has a proud tradition, and we should be grateful for its record on search and rescue at sea. It is obviously independent and decides where best to put its resources, but we are supporting the work of independent lifeboat charities through our Rescue Boat Grant Fund, which has allocated more than £3.5 million since 2014 to increase capacity and resilience by providing new boats and equipment.”

Ben Lake said: “I was glad of the opportunity to raise an issue that is of great concern to communities across Ceredigion with the Prime Minister. I look forward to working with the RNLI and campaign representatives in search of a long-term solution, and in particular seek to ascertain whether the Rescue Boat Grant Fund could be of benefit to ensuring the retention of an all-weather lifeboat at New Quay.”

The RNLI has decided to downgrade New Quay Lifeboat Station to an Inshore Lifeboat when the service life of its Mersey-class All-Weather Lifeboat expires in 2020.

The proposed new lifeboat will not be able to launch in conditions exceeding Force 7 in the daytime or Force 6 at night.

After 2020, there will be no All-Weather Lifeboats in the whole of Ceredigion, leaving a gap of 70 miles between the All-Weather stations of Barmouth and Fishguard.

The latest generation of All-Weather Lifeboats can travel at 25 knots in 30 minutes in calm conditions. In a challenging sea, the nearest boats at Barmouth and Fishguard would take more than an hour and a half to respond to an emergency off New Quay or Aberaeron.

The mission statement of the RNLI reads: “Our crews aim to launch their lifeboats with 10 minutes of being notified and can operate up to 100 nautical miles out at sea. We aim to reach at least 90% of all casualties within 10 nautical miles of the coast within 30 minutes of a lifeboat launch – any weather.”

The Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign are questioning how local rescues can take place in a challenging sea to meet this aim of the RNLI. Over 10,000 have currently signed a petition campaigning against the proposed changes.

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