Police urge people not to disturb sperm whale

Police are urging people not to get too close to a sperm whale which has been in Whiteness Voe since Monday.

It follows reports of a small boat getting close to the whale yesterday (Monday).

Wildlife crime liaison officer constable Daniel Sutherland said: “This whale is at a clear risk of disturbance and stranding after finding itself in a very restrictive and shallow area of Whiteness.

“Please do not enter the water to get a close sighting of this whale. There are safe viewing spots from the shore which will be safer for both public and the whale.”

Karen Hall of NatureScot said the whale suffered superficial scrapes to its dorsal fin when it became semi-stranded near Nesbister Bod on Tuesday. And it’s believed it briefly beached again yesterday evening.

“Fortunately as both these instances were very short and the whale remained supported by water we are hopeful it has not sustained any internal injuries from these semi strandings,” she said.

“We don’t know why it has come inshore and there are many theories: from the recent earthquake to solar activity, underwater noise, underlying health conditions or maybe it’s just reached the end of its life.
“Unfortunately with a whale this size, combined with the location that its in, there are just no options available to move it out of the voe.
“As frustrating as it is not to do something, anything we did do could end up making matters worse or injuring the animal. We are hoping, like everyone else, that it somehow finds its way back out to sea.”
Police have released this image to help people understand the distance they should keep from the sperm whale.

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