Stranded whales horror as pod of 77 'likely to die' on Scots beach

The whales are stranded on the isle of Sanday in Orkney
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

A pod of 77 pilot whales has washed ashore on a Scots beach in what has been reported as the biggest mass strandings for decades.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) say 12 of the animals at Tresness Beach on the island of Sanday, in Orkney, are still alive - but it is unlikely they can be saved. The male pilot whales are up to 7 meters long, but the group includes females and juveniles too.

According to experts it is too early to know what has caused the stranding - however it is likely one of the whales got into trouble and the rest of the pod tried to help.

Members of the public are being asked to stay away from the area while assessments and rescue efforts take place. Emma Neave-Webb from BDMLR said the latest stranding was a "big, big incident".

She told BBC Scotland News : "There are whales everywhere. There’s a long line of them, some of them are still alive. I know from experience how difficult these incidents are and I think we need to be realistic."

Experts from the BDMLR, the Scottish SPCA and marine vets from the Scottish mainland are on their way to Sanday to do what they can for the whales.

Early indications suggest it could be the largest stranding event in Scotland since at least 1995, when the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) was founded - though strandings of a similar scale have been seen in recent years.

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