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


2005-05-27 18:17:02

White Beaked dolphin strands in Scotland

A member of the public had come across a "live" stranded cetacean on the West Sands at St Andrews in Fife, Scotland at 20.00hrs and immediately notified the local SSPCA who in turn contacted Mark Stevens of B.D.M.L.R. Mark contacted Montrose Area Co-ordinator Elaine Roft who was able to make contact with SSPCA Inspector Steven Gray who had by this time arrived on scene.

Communications were difficult and hard to understand due to high winds and poor signal cutting the phones off but Elaine managed to hear that the cetacean was still alive and that the species had not been determined at this stage.

Montrose Medics comprising of Elaine Roft and Bob Pert, and Dundee Medic Gareth Norman made their way to the West Sands at St Andrews with the rescue equipment arriving at 22.30hrs.

By the time they had arrived on scene the cetacean had been pronounced dead by Inspector Gray who had done his best working alone at keeping the animal comfortable. After the possibility of a deep dive reflex had been ruled out, the team then set about to log necessary criteria. The cetacean which had been identified as a female white beaked dolphin measured 8ft 5ins in length and had good body weight and a good girth, although the tail stock appeared to be a little thin. There were several old healed lesions to the right side of the body, and a few rake marks to the left side which had not penetrated the skin. The tail flukes had abrasions and a raggedness round the edges, but all were superficial. The carcass was then towed from the strandline to the roadside at 01.20hrs where it was bagged and secured for uplift by The Scottish Agricultural College in Inverness for post mortem.

A huge thank you to SSPCA Inspector Steven Gray for his endurance and efforts working alone until the team arrived on scene, Montrose Medics Elaine Roft, Bob Pert, Dundee Medic Gareth Norman, and Dundee Medic Bruce McLeish (who was on standby to assist if the cetacean had lived)

Full strandings details and post mortem results will be forwarded to B.D.M.L.R. Director and Veterinary Surgeon James Barnett.

Elaine Roft
British Divers Marine Life Rescue
Montrose Area Co-ordinator (Inverbervie-Easthaven)

30/05/05: Bob Reid from The Scottish Agricultural College In Inverness called Montrose Area Co-ordinator Elaine Roft today with his findings so far. The cetacean was of good body weight and Girth and was in good health. It was noted that there were a few small cysts to the back of the throat, the lymph glands were slightly enlarged as were the salivary glands and the liver showed evidence of a few parasites. Neither of these symtoms were detrimental to the cetaceans death. With the cetacean being found on the strandline and on an Ebb tide at 18.00 hrs, the call to the team was not received until 21.00hrs when a member of the public finally reported it. Cause of death to date has therefore gone down as post stranding trauma. Samples have been taken for histopathology and full post mortem details will be available in due course. SSPCA Senior Inspector Steven Gray who kept the cetacean comfortable until BDMLR Medics arrived on scene has since been updated.

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