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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Rubber whale rescue on Loch Ness
Thames whale rescue effort
The whale died despite the efforts of rescuers
Divers who battled in vain to save a whale that became stranded in the River Thames a year ago are to practice rescue techniques in Loch Ness.

A two tonne inflatable rubber mock-up of a pilot whale and life-size replicas of a seal and dolphin will be used during the exercise at Dores.

It will be staged by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) in June.

Tens of thousands of people gathered to see the effort to save the distressed Thames whale last year.

The female northern bottle-nose was the first of the species to be found in the River Thames since records began in 1913.

BDMLR's life-size rubber pilot whale. Picture courtesy of BDMLR
The water-filled inflatable mammals we use are so lifelike that when the course has been run in the past, members of the public have offered to help, thinking they were real
Natalie Simmons
BDMLR regional co-ordinator

The Loch Ness marine medic course will include lectures on marine mammal biology and first aid at Dores Public Hall.

This will be followed by practical exercises on rescue techniques at the nearby Dores beach.

These include handling injured and stranded animals, first aid, assessing injuries and refloating of stranded dolphins and whales.

Natalie Simmons, BDMLR regional co-ordinator, said volunteers could sign up to the course on 17 June.

She said: "The Scottish coast receives a number of strandings of marine mammals each year and we are keen to boost the numbers of trained medics to respond to these strandings.

"The water-filled inflatable mammals we use are so lifelike that when the course has been run in the past, members of the public have offered to help, thinking they were real."

Anyone wishing to apply for a space on the course can contact BDMLR or apply using a form available on the training page of their website.

The battle to rescue the whale last January was followed around the world and by people who visited the banks of the River Thames to see the animal.

Rescue attempts failed and the whale died.

The post-mortem, carried out by vets from the Zoological Society of London, established the cause of death as dehydration, cardiovascular failure, muscle damage and kidney failure.

The Natural History Museum acquired the bones of the whale for the its scientific research collection.


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