Long-finned Pilot whale at Garths Voe, Shetland

I got a message in the morning of 12th May about a pilot whale (also known as caain’ whale in Shetland) in the Houb of Scatsta but shortly afterwards another message to say that it didn’t look well. Given its location and its suggested condition I decided not to go and look. However, further news came through today that, whilst it had stranded, it had subsequently freed itself and was now “50m out” from the head of the voe so I thought it sounded a bit more promising and decided to take a look – me and a lot of other folk!

When I got there it was soon obvious that it was in poor condition and not at all well. The rear part of its body behind the dorsal fin seldom came to the surface and its fluke hardly emerged at all. It’s body seemed somehow slightly curved laterally and it was as though lack of buoyancy was pulling it down at the rear – its fin was fairly low in the water much of the time and leaning over slightly. The poor animal did little more than swim round anti-clockwise close to shore (sometimes within 5m) whilst I was there.

I have posted some photos and aim to update here if I get any further news.

Long-finned pilot whale at Garths Voe, Shetland

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