British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2018-09-20 15:05:50

Stranded juvenile minke whale at Ardesier Bay

On the afternoon of Tuesday 18th September 2018, British Divers Marine Life Rescue received a call from a concerned member of public about a female juvenile minke whale in Ardesier Bay. The animal was reported as swimming on one side and in continuous circles. Local volunteers were sent down to the area with binoculars to try and confirm the sighting whilst gathering more information.

The whale had beached in the shallows but managed to refloat itself on the rising tide. Moray, Inverness and Cromarty volunteers were alerted and the response from our medics was quick with approximately 20 on the beach within the hour. Unfortunately, the whale then stranded again and was becoming extremely distressed. Cath Bain, the area coordinator for the above regions, was one of the first responders on scene.

Cath entered the water to assess the situation and condition of the animal. As light was fading quickly and the weather conditions were worsening, it was paramount that medics needed to act immediately. The whale was found to be getting pushed up against a pipe which was leading out to deeper waters and as a result of this, it began thrashing around more frequently and started rolling 360 degrees repeatedly. The medics continued to try and administer first aid by keeping the animal upright and ensuring water did not enter the blow hole. Despite the best efforts of our medics, the whale sadly passed away naturally at around 19:50hrs.

BDMLR would like to thank all medics who responded to this call. We would also like to thank the member of public who reported the animal and remained on scene during the operation alongside Nairn Coastguard. The animal was retrieved by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme for post-mortem with the assistance of 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and a local farmer. The preliminary results showed that the whale was suffering with severe neuropathology which compromised all chances of survival. A full report will be complied by SMASS in due course.

BDMLR is a national charity with trained volunteers around Britain that are ready torespond to cetaceans and seals in distress. If you find an animal of concern then please call our 24hr hotline on 01825 765546 for expert advice on what to do and what not to do, and so that we can mobilise our teams if necessary.

Photos courtesy Julie Allanson (BDMLR) and Margaux Dodds (Marine Connection)