VOLUNTEERS in the Highlands are set to learn how to rescue whales, dolphins and seals.

The “Marine Mammal Medics” training by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) introduces people in the techniques and skills required to rescue marine mammals when they strand, wash ashore or get entangled and other difficulties.

Some require lifting and taking to wildlife centres, others require specialist pontoons to keep them stable and refloated.

Mass stranding such as at Staffin on Skye in 2015 saw 21 pilot whales stand at once and rescuers spent over 12 hours in the water supporting and refloating the animals and finally rescued 14 members of the pod.

Local BDMLR medic Noel Hawkins, from Ullapool, attended that rescue and is helping arrange the specialist training for later in the year.

He said: “When these animals come ashore it can be something significant like an injury or it may just be a navigational error or misjudging tides, but they are large, heavy and often distressed so it is important for people to understand what to do otherwise they might put themselves and the animals at risk of injury or even death.

“Even seal pups that look very cute can give a very bad bite and cause infection if approached in the wrong way.”