A humpback whale was rescued from fishing gear in the Northern Isles last week after an expert agency came to its rescue.
A specially trained group of volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) used their specialist knowledge to free the mammal in Orkney.
The team, from Glasgow, Dundee, Moray and Ullapool, travelled to Kirkwall, and then on to the island of Westray.
They came up with a plan to free the mammal from the fishing ropes which were wrapped around its tale.
Entanglements can impair an animal’s ability to breathe, feed, swim and reproduce, and are distressing and potentially dangerous for those discovering them.
As a spokeswoman for BDMLR said: “These rescue attempts can be extremely dangerous, and lives have been lost in the past in other countries, so BDMLR have been working to raise awareness of the team’s existence, skills and availability in recent years.
“The fishermen who reported the entanglement remained on hand to assist, and along with support from local fish farm, boat club and chartered vessels, the disentanglement team were able to approach the whale in their specialised RIB to first assess the animal and identify the entanglement configuration.
“Once a plan had been made on which cuts needed to be made and where, the team returned to the animal, which remained relatively calm throughout.
“They then began cutting and removing all the entangling lines that were twisted around the tail.
“The whale was anchored by its tail to the seabed, but using specially designed cutting tools, they were able to quickly free the animal before daylight faded.”
To contact BDMLR, call 01825 765546.