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.
A good year for nature in Britain, despite the cold: After frostiest March for 50 years, summer gave rise to an explosion in wildlife
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
Carbon dioxide accumulates as seas and forests struggle to absorb
Campaigners lobby Duchess of Cornwall to persuade her son-in-law to cease Knebworth solar farm
Sea levels rising too fast for Thames Barrier
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 4 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 5 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£19200 - £26880 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: In NVQ Ass...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Network Manager - Shepherd's Bush...