The end of Nessie hunting? (No, never!)

The search for the Loch Ness Monster has been ongoing for years - it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to Loch Ness every year and many people have dedicated their lives to it.

Myths around the monster range from it being an escaped circus elephant to the last remnants of the dinosaurs, or just a floating tree branch.

But have you ever wondered what will happen if someone actually catches the Loch Ness Monster?

Nessie Code of Practice

Well, believe it or not there is actually an official code of practice for what would happen should Nessie be found.

Scottish Natural Heritage have been in possession of the 'partly serious, partly fun' plans since 2001, and according to BBC News SNH are preparing to bring out the code again - just in case - amid DNA collection from the loch.

Catch and Release

Should Nessie be found, the SNH will protect him or her as a new monster species and they have stipulated that once DNA samples have been taken, Nessie should be released to back into the loch.

SNH have added that should Nessie be discovered today, local communities and businesses would need to be consulted about her protection.

First Minister - 'I'm a Believer'

Just last month, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that she believes in Nessie's existence in the loch - and she joins a huge number of people who are convinced that this mythical creature lies in wait under the surface.

So why hasn't Nessie been found yet? Well, it's not for want of trying. With origins in 565AD, the tantalising, brief sightings of something in the water have kept cropping up in the news. There have been numerous small and large expeditions to find the monster - including a £1m operation in the 1980s.

But Loch Ness is not your average body of water. In fact, it contains more water than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined.

(and even at that, Loch Morar is deeper and Loch Lomond is bigger!)

It's 23 miles long and at it's deepest is 230m deep. That's an awful lot of water to look in, and that gives Nessie plenty of opportunity to evade discovery!

Finding Nessie

So, the search for Nessie will continue - but at least we can all be safe in the knowledge that should the monster be found, it will become Scotland's newest protected species and allowed to live in its natural habitat.

If you're among the 400,000 people visiting Loch Ness this year be sure to keep an eye out for oor Nessie. And if you're not, try your hand at spotting her on Google Earth!


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