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UK News Whales remain in Garelochhead after attempts to herd them out to sea

01:25  02 october  2020
01:25  02 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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One of three Northern Bottlenose whales swims near Garelochhead , Argyll and Bute, Scotland on "Their body shape is starting to change, so that's another reason to get them out of the loch." Britain's Ministry of Defence was helping with herding three of the whales that remained in the area

Rescuers will attempt to shepherd the animals out of Loch Long amid concern they could be harmed. Boats are to be used in an attempt to herd a pod of northern bottlenose whales back out to sea .

Three whales remained in the water at Garelochhead after an attempt to rescue the pod.

a large body of water: Three whales remain in Gare Loch (Andrew Milligan/PA) © Andrew Milligan Three whales remain in Gare Loch (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A joint organisational response comprised of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), Ministry of Defence, as well as local volunteers, aimed to get the northern bottlenose whales back out to sea ahead of a major international military exercise.

It is understood the operation was stood down at around 6.30pm due to the loss of daylight.

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Whales are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully aquatic placental marine mammals. They are an informal grouping within the infraorder Cetacea, usually excluding dolphins and porpoises.

Whaling recovered after the war ended in 1783 and the industry began to prosper, using bases at Nantucket and then New Bedford. Gradually whaling in the open sea and along the ice floes to the west of Spitsbergen replaced bay whaling . At first, the blubber was tried out at the end of the season

Rescuers were trying to shepherd the animals out of Loch Long amid concerns over the impact that Exercise Joint Warrior planned for the area could have on them.

Medics from the BDMLR have monitored the pod for the last month in and around the River Clyde.

a small boat in a body of water: Rescuers attempted to shepherd the whales back out to sea (Andrew Milligan/PA) © Provided by PA Media Rescuers attempted to shepherd the whales back out to sea (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The operation to move the whales began on Thursday at 10.30am with several small vessels in the water to encourage the animals to move down the loch into deep water where they can feed.

BDMLR tweeted an update at 12.20pm, saying: “The first group of boats are in position and gently moving the whales towards the mouth.

“They will form a barrier with boats in position to prevent the animals turning in the wrong direction.

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Most whale populations had been reduced to such low levels that it will take decades for many of them to recover. “Norwegian whaling belongs to the past, is only maintained for narrow political reasons and should be phased out as quickly as possible.”

Biologist Nan Hauser believes that when a humpback whale approached her and started nudging, lifting, and covering, it was acting to protect her from a

“The shore-based teams are monitoring all movement.”

Later on Thursday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Royal Navy said: “The first attempt this morning to move the pod was working well until they reached the Rhu Channel.

“The pod then broke off and went back to Garelochhead. Attempt number two is currently under way.”

a small boat in a body of water: Three northern bottlenose whales still remained as rescuers lost light (Andre Milligan/PA) © Provided by PA Media Three northern bottlenose whales still remained as rescuers lost light (Andre Milligan/PA)

A pair of whales first seen in Loch Goil were spotted at the mouth of the Clyde near Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae some weeks ago.

Since then five whales have been spotted in separate locations in Loch Long, with some entering smaller lochs nearby.

Northern bottlenose whales are a deep-diving species normally found off the edge of the continental shelf to the west of the UK and Ireland.

A spokesman for the Royal Navy at Faslane told the PA news agency that members of Queen’s Harbour Master (QHM) Clyde, based at HM Naval Base Clyde, met BDMLR on Wednesday.

Several vessels from the Ministry of Defence Police’s Clyde Marine Unit are involved with representatives from the QHM Clyde organisation – both on the water and in harbour control.

An MoD spokesman said: “The Royal Navy takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and continues to work with the relevant UK authorities to ensure all practical measures required to reduce environmental risk and comply with legislation are taken.

“A necessary series of safety checks is observed and an environmental risk assessment is carried out before any underwater task is undertaken by MoD, to minimise any potential risk to marine life.”

Experts attempt to move whales from loch before military exercise .
The pod of five whales have been in the area for some weeks but experts are concerned the military's sonar use in war games may cause them distress so they will attempt to move them.Marine experts and the military are to mount an audacious operation today to try to guide a pod of whales out of the Clyde.

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