Orca spotters who share their sightings on social media have been praised for helping to further research and conservation.
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart paid tribute to the those sharing via Shetland Orca Sightings on Facebook to help more people could catch a glimpse of the creatures.
Ms Wishart, who was MSP Nature Champion of the 2022 for her work championing the protection of killer whales, made the comments while highlighting Orca Watch 2023.
Organised by Sea Watch Foundation, the annual citizen science event sees volunteer observers collect data on whales, dolphins and porpoises in the waters around around Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, and North Sutherland.
It aims to increase public awareness of orcas’ activities during the summer months and highlight the need for conservation, protection and continued research.
Ms Wishart has also lodged a motion in the Scottish parliament highlighting the event.
She noted Shetland Orca Sightings’ “instrumental” role supporting the BBC’s Wild Isles nature documentary filming Orca off the coast of Unst, which was shown in the first episode of the series.
“Orca are such wonderful marine mammals and we are so lucky in our part of the world to be able to regularly spot them around our shores,” Ms Wishart said.
“Thanks to posts on social media pages like Shetland Orca Sightings more of us are able to see them.
“The work of Orca Watch will help scientists to better understand and develop the best means to help preserve the species.”