Experts believe they have identified the first sighting of a killer whale near Plymouth for more than four years.
Staff at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth say footage captured by kayakers in early June shows all the hallmarks of an orca, although they could not 100% confirm the sighting.
Neil Wright from Plympton, who filmed the sighting, said “it was much larger than anything I had seen on previous trips out around the Sound, probably at least twice the length of the grey seals I have seen. The height of the dorsal fin is what really stood out but sadly the encounter was over almost before we have chance to really think about what we might have just witnessed.”
The marine predators which specialise in hunting are rarely found off the West Country coastline. They are normally confined to more northerly areas off the shores of Scotland.
Experts say wild killer whales pose no real threat to humans.
Curator James Wright added, “orcas can be found around the British Isles but not in any great numbers. There has been one record off Plymouth some four years ago, but that was an isolated appearance."