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Whale Stranding Link Investigated

Published Wednesday, 11th September 2013 in SAC Consulting news

Stranded pilot whale

Specialist vets at Scotland’s Rural College have been investigating whether there is a connection between three whale strandings which occurred off Scotland’s east coast over the past few week.

However, SRUC Veterinary Investigation Officer Dr Andrew Browlow, who heads up the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme, says that based on initial evidence, it is unlikely there is a link between the stranding of a pilot whale in the Firth of Forth off Silverknowes on Tuesday of last week and more recent strandings, one a minke whale off Crombie point in Fife, and the other a pigmy sperm whale off Banff.

Dr Brownlow, who works from SAC Consulting’s Inverness Veterinary Investigation Laboratory, has been carrying out autopsies on the whales.

He said: “Based on what we know at the moment, it is unlikely that the strandings are linked because each has involved a different species of whale and initial indications would show they were each suffering from different problems. However, we cannot be sure until our full investigations are complete.”

Dr Brownlow said that the pilot whale which stranded earlier in the week, was possibly suffering from a brain disorder, although test results to confirm this are awaited.

“The minke whale discovered off Crombie point was in a thin condition, suggesting it possibly stranded as a result of being lost”, said Dr Brownlow. “The cause of the rare stranding of the female pigmy sperm whale off Banff is not yet clear.”

The Scottish Government-funded Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme collates, investigates and reports information on stranded marine animals for Scotland. It is managed by the SRUC Veterinary Investigation Centre in Inverness.

Members of the public who discover a stranded marine animal are asked to report it by calling the Strandings Scheme on 01463 243030, tweet them @strandings or, giving details of the animal and its location.

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