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article imageRare sighting of dolphins in Baltic thrills Polish biologists

By dpa news     Aug 19, 2007 in Environment
Warsaw, Poland — Two dolphins frolicking near the Polish Baltic Sea port of Gdynia at the weekend thrilled Polish marine biologists, who say dolphins were last seen in the area more than two centuries ago.
"Our records show dolphin sightings in this area in the 17th and 19th Centuries, so this really is a special event," Professor Krzysztof Sikora, head of Gdansk University's marine biology station on the Baltic's Hel peninsula told dpa-digitaljournal.com Sunday.
Sikora identified the creatures as common dolphins and urged pleasure boaters and commercial shippers to keep their eyes peeled for further sightings of the mammals.
Sightings of species have increased in recent years owing to the rise in the number of pleasure craft and the prevalence of mobile phones with cameras, Sikora said speaking via a mobile phone from a boat off the coast of the Hel peninsula.
Sikora was, however, at a loss to explain why the dolphins ventured into the Baltic.
"It's a bit perplexing - kind of like asking dolphins why humans go climb Mount Everest," Sikora told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Polish marine biologists were also worried that shipping traffic and a lack of food threatened the survival of a 10-metre-long Finval whale which strayed into the Baltic Sea.
Whales are also very rare in the Baltic. A humpback whale spotted last year near Gdansk was the first of its kind to be seen in Baltic waters for 20 years. It was later found dead of unknown causes on the Latvian coast.
Professor Sikora is concerned that heavy ship traffic could threaten the mammal, which already has what appeared to be scars from a propeller blade on its tail.
There is also very little plankton in the Baltic, a staple for whales, meaning the mammal could starve to death, Sikora said.
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