How to diagnose a whale

It’s not an easy task asking a blue whale to stick its tongue out and say ‘Ah’, so now scientists, trying to determine whales’ health, are capturing the mammals’ breath on Petri dishes dangled from model aeroplanes.

The planes fly into the steamy breath exhaled through the blow-holes of blue, sperm, grey and pilot whales to collect samples of mucus to determine if they are diseased or not.

Tests have been carried out off Gibraltar, in the Gulf of California and off the Mexican coast for laboratory tests at London Zoo.