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Nature / ‘All options’ being considered to encourage whale back out to sea

Photo: Hugh Harrop/Shetland Wildlife

LOCAL naturalists are looking at “all options” to encourage a large sperm whale to leave Whiteness Voe.

The whale has been present in the voe since last week, and there are fears it may strand itself.

In an update issued on Monday, NatureScot’s Karen Hall said the whale’s breathing rate and behaviour seems as “normal as it can be, given it’s in a relatively shallow area and can’t deep dive”.

“Although it’s very unlikely to be feeding, sperm whales can go some time without food,” she added.

Hall said it appears the whale has not stranded since last week, and it is keeping to the deeper channels and pools in the area.

“Although this is good news in that it isn’t stranding, it does mean that it appears to be reluctant to cross over the sill south and get past the Nesbister Bod,” she said.

“We are looking at all options to encourage him to leave. It’s logistically complicated and requires conditions to be just right to have the best chance of success – everyone is rooting for him.

“There will be two boats moving into this area – these are local boats getting into position in advance and assisting with monitoring.”

Hall also gave thanks to everyone watching out for the whale and also those providing advice from afar.

The whale is thought to be around 50 tonnes in weight and 45 feet in length.

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