Glasgow & West Scotland

Killer whale found dead on Tiree identified as 'Lulu'

Lulu the Killer whale Image copyright John Bowler RSPB Scotland

A killer whale found dead on the Scots island of Tiree has been identified as a member of Britain's only known resident population of the mammals.

The carcass was found on 3 January and later identified by specialists from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust as "Lulu", a female member of the pod.

The charity believes there now may be as few as eight individuals remaining in this killer whale group.

Experts hope to examine the carcass to establish the cause of death.

Lulu's identity was confirmed by Dr Andy Foote, an orca specialist, and Dr Conor Ryan of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

'Very sad'

Using photos from the trust's catalogue, they were able to identify Lulu from the distinctive eye and saddle patches which are unique to each whale.

Dr Foote said: "It is very sad to lose a member of this unique group.

"There are lots of potential contributing factors, many of them man-made. It may also be part of a very natural process."

Dr Ryan added: "It is particularly sad to know that another one of these killer whales, unique to the British and Irish Isles, has died.

"There may be as few as eight individuals remaining in this population, which has not produced calves since studies began."

The Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme hopes to conduct an examination of the animal in the next few days.

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