Bottlenose dolphins spotted on Israeli coast

Israel has welcomed its latest group of immigrants – hundreds of bottlenose dolphins.

Experts from the Israel Marine Mammal Research said more than 180 dolphins have been sighted along the Mediterranean coastline. They said they believe d there were up to 400 of the species which have taken up residence off the Tel Aviv and Herzliya shores.

Dr Aviad Scheinin, the chairman of the Haifa-based centre, said: "The data of the past year strengthens research I did…showing that the bottlenose dolphin has a permanent population near Israel's shores.”

He said the dolphins had become “an inseparable part of Israel's flora and fauna”.

His team has even named some of the veteran visitors, including dolphins Adi, first seen in Israel 11 years ago, and Stumpi, who arrived in 2002.

Although the dolphins tend to avoid the shore itself, they can occasionally be spotted close to land.

The dolphins are not the only surprising visitors to Israel in recent months. Last May researchers reported seeing a grey whale near the Jaffa coastline.

    Last updated: 10:49am, January 25 2011