Stranding Alert: Large pod of pilot whales in South Uist: UPDATE

23rd May 2011 Monday 23 May 2011

Colleagues in the UK have informed the IWDG that no whales were seen today although the weather is awful in the outer hebridies. Two whales stranded, one was recovered for post-mortem and one was too remote to recover.

Obviously following the similar event last December we need to be vigilant along the Irish north coast, in case they a similar situation occurs here.

If the whales are observed please inform the IWDG as we have been approached by a number of interested parties for information and access to the whales should they strand and in these instances time is of the essence.

Sunday 22 May 2011

The pilot whales returned to the same location in Loch Carnan yesterday, despite initially heading out to deeper/open water in the morning. In addition, a first dead pilot whale was discovered near to the shoreline of the loch yesterday evening.

The body (of a ~5m female) was retrieved by local fisheries protection vessel officials and members of the rescue organisations on site and was secured for post-mortem examination. Andrew Brownlow from SAC arrived on site yesterday afternoon and will conduct the post-mortem later today, no further news on the fate of the rest of the pod so far.

Saturday 21 May 2011

For a full update see:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-13466462

Friday 20 May 2011

An estimated 150 pilot whales entered a small bay in South Uist yesterday, similar to what occurred preceeding the mass stranding on Rutland, Co Donegal.

Reports from our colleagues in the UK have advised us that "around 100 Pilot Whales are near Loch Carnan - at NF835423 in Bagh Tholmair. Quite a few show head scars which appear to have been caused by a boat.


Long-finned pilot whales in South Uist on 19 May 2011

One report states "I've heard that there could be 50 animals and that some of them have cuts on their heads, which may suggest that at least some of them may have already stranded".

A similar event occurred a week prior to the mass stranding of 33 pilot whales on Rutland Island, Co Donegal in Deccember 2010. We think the two events were linked though could not show defintively the same whales were involved.

Obviously IWDG will follow these events and alert members to increase their vigilence should this event happen again.

Dr Simon Berrow

IWDG Co-ordinator