Fin whale stranding, Orkney

On 13th July our BDMLR team in Orkney were alerted to a large whale in distress in Echnaloch Bay, Burray.

Initially it was thought to possibly be an entangled minke whale, but medics were able to quickly ascertain that it was a fin whale which had live stranded and was not entangled. After assessment and consultation with our BDMLR Veterinary Consultant and our colleagues at the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (SMASS), the animal was confirmed to be in poor nutritional health and showing signs of a previous stranding. Unfortunately, due to its compromised condition and size (roughly 18m), the prognosis was very poor as it is not possible to move an animal of this size safely and it was likely that there was some underlying condition which has caused the animal to strand. Our medics remained with the animal as the tide went out and the whale was sadly confirmed dead around 9pm.

Many thanks to all BDMLR medics who attended and the St Margaret’s Hope Coastguard team for providing safety cover.

Photo Credit: John Dickens