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Published: 29 July 2017

By Andy Ross

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Of orcas and a pilot whale

This week we have had happy news and a sad tale all to do with the life in the seas that surround us. 

The orca have been around most of the summer and constantly seem to be popping up wherever I am not! Last time around a pod was cavorting in the harbour at Gutcher while I was down in the South Mainland on a textile tour. This time they were in the South Mainland while I ... well, you get the picture. If you are in Shetland on your hols, keep an eye out, join the Facebook group and ask around. You might be lucky. 

It has also been a sad week. A young pilot whale that had been rescued from Vidlin turned up in Basta Voe near the studio. It was clearly ill and finally beached itself. Lots of people turned up to try to help and keep the whale wet and cool, but it passed away after a day or so. It is wonderful to be living in a place where we see whales and porpoises, but life ends and that can be poignant and sad. 

If you see any kind of creature that looks like it is in trouble, please get in touch with the relevant authorities. In Shetland we have a number of agencies that work together to support our wildlife and I called the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary where Jan and Pete are very helpful in situations like these.  There are guidelines for helping, such as not touching a stranded marine creature or going near it, and it is an offence to pester animals whether at sea or on the land. 

Here's to more marine mammal sightings!