Unusual whale sightings flagged up off Scotland

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TEN different species of whales and dolphins have been spotted in Scottish waters over the past month, including “highly unusual” sperm whale sightings.

Marine experts hailed the bumper month as proof of the health of marine life.

Species seen around Scotland included sperm whale, humpback whale, killer whale, pilot whale, minke whale, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoise.

Sperm whales were seen in Scapa Flow and six killer whales were spotted attacking white-beaked dolphins.

The Sea Watch Foundation’s sightings officer Danielle Gibas said: “There is a lot of industrial development in Scottish waters with potential for offshore development. If we can work out where whales and dolphins are and where they will be in the future, then we can better work out how to protect them.

“This has been a really good year so far. We’ve had four months of humpback whale sightings off the north-east coast and the sightings of whales and dolphins have been virtually non-stop in Scotland.

“The more people realise that interesting things are happening, the more people will go out there and watch. Going out on to the water and reporting is really worthwhile.”

Sperm whale sightings this late in the year are considered very unusual, as they are normally present in December and February in northern British waters. By May, they are expected to be further offshore.

Sea Watch is co-ordinating a national effort to watch for whales and dolphins between 27 and 29 July.