Baby humpback whale found dead on Traigh Mhor, North Tolsta.

Stornoway’s Coastguard Rescue Team have been busy after receiving a callout to reports of a beached whale.

By John A. MacInnes
Friday, 5th March 2021, 6:35 pm
Updated Friday, 5th March 2021, 7:15 pm
The baby whale was found dead
The baby whale was found dead

The team were deployed to the scene at Traigh Mhor, North Tolsta just before 6pm following reports that the whale was stranded.

However, on arrival and expecting to be involved in the rescue, the whale was found to be dead and the matter passed to Comhairle who are responsible for disposing of the carcass.

Writing on social media about the callout, a spokesman said: "The team were paged yesterday to reports of a whale stranded on Traigh Mor in Tolsta.

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"The team confirmed that the whale was deceased so passed photos and relevant details to the Operations Centre to forward to British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the local authorities.

A spokesman for the Marine Stranding Scheme Scotland said: "We had a report of a supposed minke whale from the coastguard on Wednesday but can confirm It’s not a minke, it’s a humpback and judging by the size, a neonate.

The council will investigate dead marine animals to determine whether there are public health issues and in many cases will arrange to have them removed if accessible or buried if the ground is suitable. In considering public health the council look at proximity to houses, and public footfall likely to pass the location.

However, dealing with stranding such as this are not cheap, and CnES have to consider costs as disposal of larger whales can be significant and there is no specific budget for dealing with strandings.

If animals can be buried in situ then this would be a preferrred route compared to landfill or towed off by boat.