Killer whale from Scotland’s only native pod found dead on beach
The body of the killer whale, named Lulu, was washed ashore on a Tiree beach, in the Inner Hebrides on Sunday (January 3).
The animal thought to belong to the UK’s only native orca pod has been found dead on a beach, sparking fears for the survival of the species.
It is not clear whether the 6.2-metre orca stranded before or after she died, but local scientists are working to solve the mystery.
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust fear the conservation status of the pod is at grave risk.
A post of their Facebook page said: “We have some sad news to report: one of the West Coast Community of killer whales known as ‘Lulu’ was found dead.
“She was last photographed by us from Silurian off Waternish, Isle of Skye, in July 2014.
“The Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme are hoping to conduct an examination which might shed light on the cause of death.
“It is particularly sad to know that another one of these killer whales, unique to the British and Irish Isles has died.
“There may be as few as eight individuals remaining in this population, which has not produced calves since studies began.”
No calves have been born since researchers first began tracking the West Coast orcas in the 1980s.
Some biologists claim pollution in the water has led to high rates of infant mortality.
Orcas are highly social mammals belonging to the oceanic dolphin family which typically feed on fish shoals, seabirds and seals.
The Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme is now hoping to conduct an examination to discover the cause of Lulu’s death.