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Rescuers search Loch Eriboll for 'distressed whale'

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p06x3fvn - Rescuers search Loch Eriboll for 'distressed whale'

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Media captionSperm whale trapped in Loch Eriboll in Highlands

A search is being made of a Highlands loch for a sperm whale that was spotted in difficulty on Wednesday and again on Thursday.

The animal, which has been estimated to be up to 9m (30ft) long, was reported to have been tangled in rope in Loch Eriboll, near Durness, Sutherland.

Coastguard and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) volunteers have been monitoring the whale.

A BDMLR team began a search for the whale at first light on Friday.

BDMLR said it still had to confirm if the animal was caught in rope, adding that the animal might be ill or injured.

Image copyright
Hugh Maclellan

Image caption

A rescue of the whale is expected to begin later on Thursday

The whale was seen Thursday swimming slowly in the loch.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has asked any members of the public trying to find a vantage point to see the whale to take care on the coastline.

It has also asked that people leave the rescue effort “to the experts”.

Image copyright
Laura Shirra BDMLR

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A humpback whale was rescued from the same loch in January 2016

Durness, Melness and Kinlochbervie coastguard rescue teams along with BDMLR volunteers and Scottish SPCA officers have been monitoring the whale.

Sperm whales are some of the world’s deepest diving mammals.

Males can grow to more than 18m (59ft) in length and females to more than 12m (40ft).

In January 2016, a humpback whale was freed from fishing gear used to catch prawns in Loch Eriboll.

The 12m-long had become entangled in creels.

Members of BDMLR managed to free the mammal from the ropes and guided it to safety.

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