In 2001, the Scottish Natural Heritage drew up a plan of action if the Loch Ness Monster were ever to be found. The code-of-practice is in the news again due to a a recent big effort to collect skin and scale samples from Loch Ness and compare those DNA sequences against known animals. From the BBC News:
It stipulates that a DNA sample should be taken from any new creature, and then it should be released back into the loch...
Nick Halfhide, of SNH, an organisation that promotes Scottish wildlife and natural habitats, said the 17-year-old code of practice remained relevant today.
He said: "There was a lot of activity on the loch at the time about Nessie.
"So, partly serious and partly for a bit of fun, we drew up a contingency plan about how we would help Nessie if and when she was found."
Mr Halfhide said: "Some of the lessons we learned then have been relevant when we have reintroduced species like sea eagles, and were used when, a couple of years ago, four new species were found in the sea off the west coast."
Above, "The Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, known to be a hoax. Read the rest
For more than a century there have been reports of a strange sea "monster" living in Loch Ness yet hard evidence is, er, lacking. Now, evolutionary biologist Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago is hoping that DNA testing could perhaps shed some light on what people claim is Nessie. For two weeks, Gemmell and his team will collect skin and scale samples from Loch Ness and compare those DNA sequences against known animals. Here's what Gemmmell told the BBC News:
"I don't believe in the idea of a monster, but I'm open to the idea that there are things yet to be discovered and not fully understood. Maybe there's a biological explanation for some of the stories."
"While the prospect of looking for evidence of the Loch Ness monster is the hook to this project, there is an extraordinary amount of new knowledge that we will gain from the work about organisms that inhabit Loch Ness - the UK's largest freshwater body..."
"There is this idea that an ancient Jurassic Age reptile might be in Loch Ness. If we find any reptilian DNA sequences in Loch Ness, that would be surprising and would be very, very interesting."
Above, "The Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, known to be a hoax.
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Steve Feltham has been camped at Loch Ness for 25 years keeping a constant vigil for Nessie. He seems like a delightful happy mutant doing exactly what he wants with his life.
"Some people think it's a giant eel," Feltham says. "Some people think there's a rip in time. Others believe there's a spaceship on the bottom of the Loch. It's more likely to turn out to be a big catfish."
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Cruise Loch Ness has just commissioned construction of a £1.4 million custom catamaran that can take more than 200 passengers on a quest for Nessie. According to the company, purchase of the new vessel was driven by a big, er, swell in Chinese tourists at Loch Ness. From The Scotsman:
The specially-designed catamaran boasts superior features such as monster-sized windows on the main deck, to optimise ‘Nessie’ spotting opportunities. Meanwhile the upper deck will be open at the sides, but covered above, meaning passengers won’t be forced to come inside in bad weather. Toilets and a bar will feature on the main deck.
The vessel will be powered by a pair of Volvo D9 MH main engines. Producing 313kW per side, these powerful engines are capable of propelling the vessel to speeds over 20 knots, whilst being extremely fuel-efficient at the same time.
Oh, I'm sure that if Nessie does exist, it would certainly choose to frolick around this hulking beast speeding through the water.
Above: the infamous hoaxed "Surgeon's Photograph" Read the rest
In 1977, the US Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service published a fascinating document asking what the government would do if Bigfoot or something like the Loch Ness Monster were to be found? The paper goes on to explain the laws and regulations in place to deal with such a discovery, and also mentions 20th century discoveries like the Komodo dragon and cryptozoology's darling, the coelacanth. From the document:
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Finding a Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot is still a possibility, and the discovery would be one of the most important in modern history. As items of scientific and public interest they would surely command more attention than the moon rocks. Millions of curiosity seekers”and thou- sands of zoologists and anthropologists throughout the world would be eager to “get at” the creatures to examine, protect, capture, or just look at them....
Under U.S. Law, the Secretary of the Interior is empowered to list as threatened or endangered a species for 120 days on an emergency basis. For endangered species in the United States, the Secretary can also desig- nate habitat that is critical to their survival. No Federal agency could then authorize, fund, or carry out any activities which would adversely modify that habitat.
So long-term Federal protection of Nessie or Bigfoot would basically be a matter of following the same regulatory mechanisms already used in protecting whooping cranes and tigers.
“Under normal situations,” said Keith Schreiner, then Associate Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “we must know a great deal about a species before we list it.
Famed British conservationist Sir Peter Scott, who gave the Loch Ness Monster the scientific name of Nessiteras rhombopteryx as part of an effort to protect it as an endangered species in case it's real, originally tried in 1960 to get Queen Elizabeth to approve the name Elizabethia Nessiae. Read the rest
His current best guess is that "Nessie" is just a large catfish.