Rescuers battle to save trapped pilot whales

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Scottish conservationists are fighting to rescue around 30 pilot whales which have became trapped in the Kyle of Durness, just east of Cape Wrath, at low tide.  The mudflats in the kyle are rich in eels, a favourite food of pilot whales.   Around half the pod of 60 animals was trapped in the shallow water when the tide retreated, their way out to the open sea blocked by sand bars and mudflats.

Three of the whales, including a calf, have beached on the shore.  Members of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue are giving medical assistance to the distressed animals in an attempt to save them.

It is believed that the pod is the same group of whales which became trapped in Loch Carnan in the isle of South Uist earlier this year.  The animals are highly social creatures, and will often accompany ill or distressed pod members rather than abandon them, even when this means putting their own lives in danger.  

Charlie Phillips, a Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society field officer, said: “There are now between 25 and 30 whales completely stranded in the sand.  The tide is out at the moment so there is very little water in the estuary.

“It is difficult to tell how many have survived.  Some appear to be alive, others are moribund and it looks as if some have died.

“We will be able to get a clearer picture when the water comes back.”