UK boats try to move whales away from huge naval exercise

LONDON (AP) — Marine wildlife experts will try Thursday to move a pod of bottlenose whales from Scottish coastal waters where Europe’s largest naval exercise is about to begin.

Exercise Joint Warrior is due to start Saturday on Gare Loch, one of a chain of sea lochs on the west coast of Scotland. Animal welfare experts say sonar from the vessels could hurt the whales.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue Medics say the whales have been spotted in the area over the last month.

It says its rescue boats and military boats will be used to coax the marine mammals back out to sea, but “there is no guarantee it will be successful, given the depth of water and distance that needs to be covered.”

Northern bottlenose whales are a deep-diving species of cetacean normally found off the edge of the continental shelf to the west of the U.K. and Ireland.

Exercise Joint Warrior involves ships, aircraft and troops from countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, Japan, Canada and the United States. It is due to run until Oct. 15.

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