Experts fear mass whale stranding
Friday 20 May 2011
Marine experts have been deployed to the Western Isles to try to prevent a mass stranding of pilot whales.
A Scottish SPCA spokesman said the first estimate was that between 60 and 70 whales had been spotted off the coast of South Uist, near Loch Carnan, and a large number appeared to have head injuries.
Volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) travelled overnight in an attempt to reach the mammals.
The Scottish SPCA's senior inspector Calum Watt was making his way from the mainland to assist them.
If any of the whales in the group are unwell they could try to beach themselves and the others are likely to follow.
A spokesman for the animal welfare charity said: "One of our senior inspectors is on his way to the scene now. We are assisting the BDMLR with their operation."
At the end of October last year, a pod of pilot whales were in danger of becoming stranded in the same sea loch.
After being monitored closely by the coastguard, BDMLR and the Scottish SPCA, they moved safely back to sea.
But less than a week later a pod of 33 whales - believed to be the same group - were discovered dead on a beach in Co Donegal.
The Scottish SPCA spokesman said: "If they are sick they will try to beach themselves, and the healthy ones will follow.
"There is a worry that they could move on and turn up somewhere else. We are going to do all we can to make sure that doesn't happen."
Alistair Jack, BDMLR's Scottish co-ordinator, said: "We first became aware of the incident late yesterday and have immediately responded.
"We anticipate having trained medics and rescue equipment on the scene by mid morning. This is one of the largest events of this kind ever in the country."
Mr Jack said arrangements are being made for other sets of specialised rescue equipment to be flown to the island to assist with the rescue attempt.
Human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest is causing pollution and could spread diseases
Woodpecker and weasel: This is what the photographer has to say about the incredible picture
Act now or rising seas will sink our country, Marshall Islanders tell the world
At long last, Australia is able to halt the relentless advance of the cane toad
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of global logisti...
£35000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager (Vice President...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Marketing Executive i...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...