Use the new 'Whale Track' app to report sightings

Photo of hand holding a smart phone in front of a map
Jody Fleck

A new app from conservation charity Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust is set to transform the way that members of the public and boat operators can help gather vital scientific data about whales, dolphins and porpoises off Scotland’s west coast, where 24 of the world’s estimated 92 cetacean species have already been recorded. 

Whale Track is designed to work at sea and in remote coastal communities where there is often no cellular coverage – allowing boat operators, fishermen and other seafarers to get involved.  Coastal communities can report their sightings from land and all data collected by the app feeds into a web portal, allowing anyone to interact with this information. 

The initiative has the backing of television presenter, wild animal biologist and biochemist Liz Bonnin, Patron of Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. Liz said:

“Encouraging the public to play a very real part in the protection of their local wildlife is essential if we are going to have any chance of safeguarding it for the future. 

"Thanks to great advances in technology, the Whale Track app will allow everyone to contribute to research, no matter how remote their location – even if they are out of network or wifi coverage. It’s an exciting prospect, and a very positive step towards protecting this magnificent part of the planet.”

Dr. Lauren Hartny-Mills, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s Science Officer, said:

“Whale Track is an exciting innovation that will help gather crucial data to improve our understanding of local species of cetaceans – especially coastal species such as bottlenose dolphins and rarer ones including killer whales and humpback whales – and to inform policies to safeguard them. 

"By using the technology most of us carry around in our pockets, Whale Track makes recording and submitting sightings of marine megafauna more convenient and accessible to everyone. This is important in an area that is difficult to monitor due to the nature of the remote coastline. 

"We really hope that Whale Track will inspire lots of people to get involved and enjoy being citizen scientists!

"Anyone can download the app for free from the App Store and Google Play, and take advantage of this new opportunity to discover more about the west coast of Scotland’s stunning and world-class wildlife.”

Please visit the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust website to find out more. 

Above image is ©HWDT