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Plan set in motion to capture Loch Ness Monster

23/07/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Marine biologist David Caldwell and the Highland Council have agreed to a plan that will finally track and capture the large predatory creature that inhabits Scotland's famous lake.

"Our first step will be to set up a sonar array using buoys," states Caldwell, who once organized a research team to photograph the elusive giant squid in its deepwater habitat. "While the array is being prepared, the Army Corp. of Engineers will be assembling sections of a pre-fabricated bridge. Once in place, the floating bridge will span Urquhart Bay. Steel fencing, connected to the bridge's pontoons, will then be lowered into place and anchored to the bottom. The idea is to create a natural habitat to pen the monster. Once the array is up and running, the bay will be baited and the creature lured, then sealed inside."

Critics have protested Caldwell's plan, Caldwell's rival, marine biologist Zachary Wallace. "Caldwell's plan won't work. "He's making the same mistakes all Nessie hunters make who rely on sonar. As we know from studies conducted with the Navy, active sonar (pinging) frightens marine animals while damaging their hearing and sense of navigation. A sonar buoy pinging in Loch Ness will simply scare its largest predator into hiding. The same thing happened in Operation Deep Scan years ago. A dozen vessels pinging an underwater trowel are deafening."

Still, the recent gruesome death of American tourist Tiani Brueggart, now attributed to the creature, has caused concern among residents. "We've got to do something," says Calum Forest, a local living in Drumnadrochit. "Penning the creature's far more humane than killing it ... assuming you could even find it to kill. I like Caldwell's plan, and Council will recoup their losses with the expected increases in tourism."

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