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breaking news

Whale being monitored off Burray

The whale in difficulty off Burray.
(Dave Wakefield)

British Divers Marine Life Rescue volunteer medics continue to be on scene tonight after a 16-18 metre long fin whale was spotted in difficulty off Burray earlier in the day.

After monitoring for some time to assess the condition of the animal, and to ascertain whether it was entangled or not, medics were happy that the animal was free-swimming and not caught on anything, however it is in poor condition, for which the prognosis is not good.

Unfortunately, as the tide as dropped the animal stranded in shallow water.

Medics say that they have remained on scene throughout the day, to monitor its breathing rate from the safety of the shore, and to ensure it is not disturbed “whilst nature takes its course.”

They added that unfortunately, with a whale of this size, humane euthanasia to prevent further suffering is not an option, and with it being in very poor health and malnourished it would be highly unlikely to survive at sea.

Whilst this whale is not fully grown, it is likely to weigh in excess of 40 tonnes, which means whilst it is stranded out of the water it is crushing itself under its own bodyweight which will cause internal damage too.

Unfortunately refloating a whale of this size once it has stranded is also impossible due to its size and weight. Adult fin whales can reach in excess of 26 metres in length and weigh up to 80 tonnes.

The medics added: “Whilst medics are on the scene monitoring the whale, the landowner has requested that no one else attends and we would ask that everyone please respects his wishes. The local Coastguard team have also been in attendance too.”

An update will follow.