OAN’s Noah Herring
1:20 PM – Monday, July 17, 2023
A pod of 55 pilot whales have died after being found washed ashore on a beach in Scotland, marine experts said Monday.
Reports of dozens of whales being stranded prompted Marine rescuers, the coast guard, and police to arrive at Traigh Mhor Beach on the Isle of Lewis in northwest Scotland early Sunday.
According to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, only 15 of the whales, which were a mixture of adults and calves, were still alive. Rescuers also attempted to refloat two of the whales that were closer to the water.
However, by Sunday afternoon, rescue teams made the decision to euthanize the remaining whales as the wave condition was rough and the beach was shallow.
The rescuers said that the pod may have followed a female onto shore who had complications giving birth.
“Pilot whales are notorious for their strong social bonds, so often when one whale gets into difficulty and strands, the rest follow,” it said in a statement. “A sad outcome for this pod and obviously not the outcome we were all hoping for.”
Experts are expected to begin post-mortem work on Monday to determine what caused the whales’ death.
Andrew Brownlow from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme said that their work will be a “monumental task.”
“In terms of the number of casualty animals, this is the biggest one we’ve had,” he told the BBC.
The whales’ bodies will be examined and will be taken to a landfill site to be buried after the post-mortem is completed.
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