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Scots and Scotland have a long association with whales that can be traced back to prehistory. Whereas today they provide pleasure and excitement through whale watching trips, in the past many species were hunted to the brink of extinction from which they are slowly recovering. Of the 23 species that have been recorded in Scottish waters in recent years, some such as the harbour porpoise, minke whale, killer whale and bottlenose dolphin are regularly seen whilst others such as the beaked whales and the humpback whale are much rarer visitors.