Rescuers prepare to untangle humpback whale caught in buoys in Scotland

LONDON (AP) — A rescue operation was planned to untangle a humpback whale caught in creel buoys near a remote Scottish island. Officials said the rescue would be difficult because of rough weather conditions.

The whale, estimated to be 40-feet (12-meter) long, is stranded off the shore of the Shetland Islands, an archipelago in northeast Scotland, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

"On inspection I found a humpback whale which was caught in fishing creels and may have a rope or netting around its body," SPCA official Ron Patterson said.

Local paper The Shetland Times reported that a ferry crew saw that the whale's tail was caught in the buoys early Thursday.

The SPCA is is coordinating with other animal experts, including researchers in the U.S., to find a way to free the whale as soon as they could.

One or two humpback whales are seen off the Shetland coast each year.