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Investigation after killer whale washes up on North Uist beach

The orca was spotted partially buried in sand on a beach at Baleshare on North Uist on Monday.

Killer whale or orca which washed up on North Uist beach.
SWNS

A six metre long killer whale has washed up on an beach in the Outer Hebrides.

The orca was spotted partially buried in sand on a beach at Baleshare on North Uist on Monday.

The whale is believed to belong to the UK’s only native pod.

Artist Jac Volbeda, 59, said the killer whale was still fresh when he found it a few kilometres from his B&B.

Mr Volbeda said: “It was half-buried in the sand about 2km away from where we live and was definitely dead when I got to it.

"It's not a very big one as it's only about six metres in length, which isn't that long for an adult but it's still a real shame.

"We've seen a lot of dolphins and porpoises wash up here, as well as pilot whales, and in 2011 we had a ten metre long sperm whale on the beach which they ended up burying in the sand.

"We are quite exposed on the island, but even when there are storms here they don't have any difficulties in managing with the heavy surges.

"It's half buried in the sand and there's no drag marks on the beach nearby so I'd say it was dead before it reached the beach and was carried in by the high tide."

Scientists from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, which surveys strandings and the cause of death of marine life on Scottish beaches, are on their way to North Uist.

Veterinary pathologist Dr Andrew Brownlow added: “Until we have images of the dorsal fin and the patterns on the saddle patch on its back and around its eyes we won't be able to say which group it belongs to.

“At the moment we can't tell if the individual has been identified before but we should be able to determine that when we get to it.

"From what we've seen in pictures it looks quite thin so we are interested to determine whether that may have been because of disease or whether it was the result of trauma."

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