More than 50 pilot whales have died in a mass stranding off the Scottish coast

More than 50 pilot whales have died in a mass stranding off the Scottish coast


July 17, 2023 | 2:09 p.m

LONDON, July 17 – More than 50 pioneer whales have died in Scotland after being stranded on a beach on the Isle of Lewis, the country’s biggest mass stranding in decades.

Authorities were alerted to the incident on Sunday morning around 0600 GMT, and subsequent attempts to refloat more than a dozen whales alive were unsuccessful.

Rescuers later decided to euthanize the stranded whales for welfare reasons.

In total, 55 whales died and one is believed to have survived.

The British Divers Charity Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) said a female had been found with a vaginal prolapse and suspected the whole whale was stranded after one of the whales suffered complications from childbirth.

“Pilot whales are known for their strong social bonds, so often when one whale has difficulty and moves on, the rest follow,” BDMLR said.

A view of dead whales after a mass stranding in North Tolsta, Isle of Lewis, Britain, July 16, 2023.
Christina McAvoy via Reuters
View of a dead whale after a mass stranding in North Tulsta.
Christina McAvoy via Reuters
More than 50 whales have died after mass stranding in northern Tolsta, UK.
Christina McAvoy via Reuters

The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) said it would begin scanning the bodies of mammals to determine the cause of the stranding.

“Over the next several days we will be conducting sampling and necropsy of pilot whales to gather as much data as possible to better understand the health of these animals and why they are stranded,” Smas said in a statement on Instagram.

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