Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Second whale stranded in Firth of Forth is put down

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Media captionFirefighters had been pouring water onto the Minke whale to stop its skin from cracking and to keep it cool

A minke whale has been put down by vets after it became stranded in the Firth of Forth just days after the death of a pilot whale in the area.

The 4m long juvenile whale became stuck near the shore at Crombie point in Fife at 07:40.

The animal was in distress "lifting its tail and tremoring". Firefighters had been pouring water over the whale to keep its skin from cracking.

Experts said it was a "long way from the sea".

Medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue kept the mammal sedated but with high tide not due until mid afternoon a decision was taken to euthanise the whale because refloating was not possible.

On Tuesday, a pilot whale was stranded north of Edinburgh but later died.

A team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue had spent the day in the shallows off Silverknowes trying to save the animal.

Jet stream

It is the season for whale strandings in Scotland.

Experts said that in September they expected to see a number of animals stuck on beaches but they are unsure why.

Stephen Marsh from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said there could be a number of reasons.

Firstly, the whale may be sick or dying which can disorient the animal and turn them inland.

The second is the weather. It could be that in September, food moves closer to the shore and the whales are having to swim into shallower waters to feed.

This year, however, experts said they do not know what to expect.

The jet stream has been a lot further north, giving warmer weather, however, it also affects the currents and other marine life.

For instance, seals have been having pups later this year.

About 30% of stranded whales are kept alive and sent back to sea.

At the weekend in Shetland, 40 pilot whales were safely herded out to deeper waters by workers from Scottish National Heritage under the remote guidance of British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

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