Wildlife enthusiasts along the north-east coast are being asked to help conservationists track whale and dolphin activity as part of a scheme to keep the animals safe.
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) group at Spey Bay is appealing for volunteers to join its Shorewatch initiative.
The programme seeks to monitor numbers using information supplied by the general public.
The Moray centre’s conservation officer, Katie Dyke, said volunteers could also help save the creatures’ lives by sounding the alarm if they are spotted approaching the shore.
She said: “Shorewatch is a community-led programme, we ask volunteers in different coastal areas to give up some of their time to look out for whales and dolphins.
“There is an amazing amount of wildlife in the Moray Firth, there were more than 1,000 whale and dolphin sightings last year and we have already had a lot of interesting reports this year.
“We want to better understand where the animals are going, and to protect them we need to continually monitor them.
“If we have people out looking along the coast they can also tell if an animal looks to be in danger of standing.
“At the moment, Shorewatch has about 2,000 volunteers across Scotland but we are always on the lookout for more.”
Last October, volunteers attached to the project warned conservation experts that a pod of pilot whales were entering shallow waters in the Moray Firth at Cromarty.
Representatives from the WDC group attended the scene and monitored the animals to ensure they were able to return to deeper water without any difficulty.
Ms Dyke and her team train the volunteers in how to identify different types of animals, and provide them with binoculars and other equipment.
The data gathered by members of the public will be supplied to the national bodies to help them shape plans to safeguard the marine population.
Upcoming training sessions will take place by Spey Bay on May 14, at Chanonry Point on May 15, at Cromarty on May 16, in Aberdeen on June 11, at Cullen and Nairn on June 26, and at Burghead on July 23.
People interested in the scheme can contact the Spey Bay centre on 01343 829065, or e-mail email@example.com
Information about the Shorewatch programme is available at www.whales.org/shorewatch