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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

What makes a great visitor experience?

As manager of the Scottish Dolphin Centre, I have good reason to ponder this question. It came up again this week as we were awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, an accolade given to establishments who consistently get a high number of outstanding reviews.

What strikes me as interesting is that many of our reviewers didn’t actually spot any dolphins – the main aim for lots of our visitors – but they still had a fantastic day out, speaking to the volunteers who help run the centre, enjoying guided walks and tours, or a bite to eat in the café. It is clearly extremely important to visitors that they are greeted warmly by friendly, enthusiastic and informative staff. Over the past few years we have worked hard on this aspect of our offer with improved training for all staff and volunteers, and this has clearly paid off.

Image Copyright Alex Mitchell

We don’t get it right every time, but reviews and feedback help to highlight our mistakes and how we can improve.

A huge majority of our 90,000 annual visitors are very passionate about Scottish wildlife, including the amazing variety of whales and dolphins that visit these waters. This makes them very open to dropping coins and even notes into the donation box, adopting a dolphin or signing WDC petitions during their visit, including the latest one asking Richard Branson to re-think his position on selling trips to Seaworld. This is precisely why WDC run a visitor centre in this spectacular spot: to enthuse the general public about whales and dolphins and give them a chance to help WDC protect them.

I would like to say a personal thank you to the staff and volunteers who work hard to provide a smile to every visitor who comes through our doors – you are driving our success!