More than 40 pilot whales dead after mass stranding on Scottish beach

​Only ten of the pilot whales were said to be still alive after a "mass stranding" on a Scottish beach

More than 40 pilot whales have died following a “mass stranding” on a Scottish beach.

Marine rescuers were called to the scene at Traigh Mhor in North Tolsta, on the Isle of Lewis, to reports that dozens of the mammals were in difficulty there on Sunday morning.

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Marine medics have estimated that at least 55 whales are there, however the latest update from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) indicated that only 10 are alive.

Police have instructed members of the public to avoid the area to allow the mammals the greatest chance of survival.

The reason for the stranding is unknown. However, experts suggest it is common for pilot whales to travel in large groups.

Pilot whales are small whales characterised as part of the dolphin family.

A statement from the BDMLR said: "This morning around 7am BDMLR were alerted to a mass stranding of pilot whales on the Isle of Lewis via the police.

Pilot whales off the coast of Shetland in 2019. Picture: PAPilot whales off the coast of Shetland in 2019. Picture: PA
Pilot whales off the coast of Shetland in 2019. Picture: PA

"Our local marine mammal medics are currently administering first aid to the whales, and medics from surrounding areas are preparing their kit and organising transport to the island.”

The statement added: "The reason for the whales stranding is currently unknown, but pilot whales are notorious for their strong social bonds, so often, when one whale gets into difficulty and strands, the rest follow, leading to more of them stranding.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Officers are currently assisting partners with a number of stranded pilot whales on the beach at Tolsta, Stornoway. To allow the dolphins the best chance of survival, please avoid the area."



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