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


2007-01-26 13:26:37

Sowerby's beaked whale dead stranding, Scotland

Marine Biologist and marine mammal medic Ian french was called out to the stranding of a small whale on the shores of loch ewe on Friday the 26th January. Unfortunately this turned out to be a dead stranding, probably within the last 48 hours. Initial id was thought to be a young northern bottle nose whale, later in better conditions this identification was ratified as a sowerby's beaked whale.

The SAC at Inverness were contacted and an autopsy was carried out early on the 27th,this revealed the female was heavily pregnant with a well developed foetus. The foetus showed a pronounced melon and has cast some doubt as to the cetaceans identity,i t may be a true's beaked whale.

Samples were taken of all the major organs, none of which gave any clues to cause of death,i n fact all signs indicate a very healthy whale. The rostrum and jaw bones were heavily smashed and shattered, maybe the whale was hit by something or was this caused as it was washed ashore?

The foetus, skull and tissue samples were taken back to the labs in Inverness for analysis and a second set of samples are to be taken to the natural history museum London.

Ian French
Marine Mammal Medic