Orca watchers ready for business again

A team of killer whale experts who conducted research into the impressive mammal in Shetland’s waters over the last two years have returned to the isles to continue their work.

PHD student Andy Foote, of Aberdeen University, is carrying out studies for the next eight weeks and is anxious that anyone who spots killer whales during their travels should get in touch with him.

Travelling with him this year is Volker Deecke, from the sea mammal research unit at St Andrews University, along with a number of other assistants eager to learn more about the whales and what they do.

The team have a mobile phone on standby and are able to high-tail it to “anywhere around Shetland” where the whales have been spotted.

They are attempting to compile a database of pictures, which will help identify the movements of the whales between Shetland and Iceland.

Last year the team’s findings revealed several killer whales spotted in waters around Shetland were the same as those seen off Iceland during the 1990s.

Where possible Mr Foote will also be carrying out DNA tests on whales.

He estimates there are around 40 killer whales in waters around the isles.

Anyone who thinks they may have spotted any of them are asked to contact Mr Foote on 07500 380524.


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