Whales stranded on loch shore
Friday 22 July 2011
Three pilot whales have become stranded on the shore of a sea loch.
Rescuers at the scene said the whales were part of a pod of around 60 which got trapped in the Kyle of Durness, one of Britain's most northerly points, in the Scottish Highlands.
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity said the three whales are being given first aid on the beach.
Between 15 and 20 pilot whales which were thought to be in danger of stranding have been herded back to a deeper channel of water where they rejoined the larger group.
The larger group may still become stranded once the estuary tide goes out. The Navy and Coastguard are also helping with the rescue, which is expected to continue through the night into tomorrow.
The Scottish Agricultural College said another 20 of the whales could be heading for shallow water.
SAC vet Dr Andrew Brownlow is making his way to the Kyle of Durness. He will conduct post-mortem examinations on any dead whales.
In May, around 60 pilot whales appeared in Loch Carnan, South Uist, although they left the loch after one of the mammals died. The dead whale was later found on an island in the loch. A post-mortem examination suggested it had died of infection.
Rescuers later said a second whale was found dead in the same loch. It is thought to have died elsewhere and floated in on the tide.
At the end of October last year, other pilot whales almost got stranded in Loch Carnan. Less than a week later 33 whales, believed to be the same group, were found dead on a beach in Co Donegal in Ireland.
Pilot whales are known to prefer deep water but come inshore to feed on squid, their main food.
The rescue charity said one of the beached whales is a calf.
Operations manager Stephen Marsh said: "This is a major operation, as it always can be with this species. Pilot whales are gregarious, family-orientated animals and will follow a member of their pod that may be in distress or ill.
"Kyle of Durness is not a good place for them to be, as it practically empties on the outgoing tide and is full of sandbanks - potential stranding sites for any whale.
"We're really thankful that the Navy and Coastguard have been on hand to work under our guidance until our team arrived at the scene. And they continue to be a major asset in this operation."
Peaches Geldof cause of death: 'Heroin addict' socialite had taken fatal dose of drug, inquest concludes
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...
£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...