VIDEO: Dolphin spotted in the Tamar and North Esk rivers, Launceston

Picture: Phillip Biggs
Picture: Phillip Biggs

There's been seals, even whales, but have you ever seen a dolphin in the Tamar River in northern Tasmania?

The unusual visitor was spotted right in the heart of Launceston about 10am on Wednesday, first behind the QVMAG Tramsheds Function Centre and later down towards Seaport.

Aran Price of Launceston Kayak Tours said he couldn't believe his eyes when someone in his group made the sighting.

"We had only just gotten in the water. Someone yelled out 'look over there'. I thought oh it will just be a seal, let's get a bit closer. Then we realised it was a dolphin," he said.

"It was just disbelief. But I think it's absolutely amazing and hopefully a sign that the river is getting back to a better quality."

The dolphin reportedly spent a bit over an hour taking in the sights of the North Esk River.

Mr Price said they watched it for some time from the front of Customs House, near Boags Brewery.

"I have been doing these tours since 2016 and it's the first time I have seen a dolphin this close," he said.

Picture: Aran Price

Picture: Aran Price

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies Associate Professor Mary-Anne Lea said a variety of marine mammals had been sighted in the Tamar over the years.

However, she said it was important that any sightings were reported to help scientists learn more about animal movements.

"When we consider the movements of dolphins, whales and seals, it is often seasonal," she said.

"So there could be prey items in the river.

"It's important when these types of things happen that people report their observations to DPIPWE, and to just observe, not harass these animals."

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Associate Professor Lea said seeing a dolphin in the river, so close to town, was relatively rare given the greater concentration of people in the area.

According to DPIPWE, dolphins are regularly observed in Tasmania's sheltered waterways.

Please report sightings of whales and dolphins in Tasmanian waters to the Whale Hotline (0427 WHALES). Regular updates and further information can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com\whalesta.

This story 'It's a seal... no it's a dolphin': Rare river sighting first appeared on The Examiner.