Attempts end to rescue beached whale on South Uist

Beached whale
Image caption,
Volunteers had tried to keep the whale comfortable

Volunteers have given up in their attempts to rescue a 60ft (18m) whale beached on South Uist in the Western Isles.

The animal, thought to be a rare sei whale, was discovered shortly after 13:00 on a beach near Gerinish.

Local volunteers had been working all day to try to keep the mammal comfortable.

Experts said it was too short notice to get the drugs required to euthanise the whale or get equipment to refloat it.

Charlie Phillips, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said there was little that could be done once an animal of this size came ashore.

Media caption,
BBC's Iain Morrison: "The floatation devices simply weren't big enough to get an animal of this size back out into the water"

"If the animal is still suspended in water, keeping some of the weight off its internal organs, then you can maybe try to lead the animal back out to open water - if it's maybe just made a navigational mistake," he said.

"But if there's something physically wrong with the whale itself then it's a matter of scale.

"When you're dealing with smaller species like dolphins or porpoises then we can physically manoeuvre them around.

"But something of that size, where you're looking at tens of tonnes of weight, it's almost impossible to do anything."

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