Saturday, 20 April 2013

Pilot whale strands in Falmouth

Long-finned pilot whale on a beach near Falmouth. Courtesy of British Divers Marine Life Rescue
Whale too ill to survive
April 2013. At 11am on 15th April, British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) received a call from the Cornwall Coastguard telling alerting them that a dolphin had stranded on the beach at Falmouth. They scrambled their marine mammal medics they arrived on the scene within half an hour to discover that the dolphin was actually a Long-finned Pilot whale.
The medics immediately started to administer first aid to the whale, and to protect the whale from the sun (which dries out and cracks its skin) the medics placed towels drenched in water over the whale.

BDMLR maintain a whale rescue trailer which arrived shortly after towed by BDMLR director Dave Jarvis. The whale was 4.1 metres long and probably a juvenile. The whale was also solitary which was unusual as they live in large pods - This was a worry to the rescue team as Long-finned pilot whales are known to strand en masse - As happened in Scotland last September - But as yet there is no sign of any more whales in the area.

Poor condition
On assessment the body condition was found to be poor and a decision was taken to euthanize the whale. BDMLR main aim is to prevent suffering and to return a whale to the sea that is not in a condition to survive would simply increase the suffering of the whale.

Dave Jarvis said "It's always a hard decision to end a life but in this case I feel it was justified."

A full post mortem will be carried out on the whale to determine the reason it came ashore.
Long-finned pilot whales

Long-finned pilot whales occur in the North Atlantic and across the southern hemisphere at lower latitudes. Adults can grow up to 7 metres long and can weigh up to 3 tonnes.

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