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Whale washed up on South Queensferry beach during Storm Babet has died 

ByAsia Kane

Nov 3, 2023

A sei whale has died after washing up on the South Queensferry coastline on 21 October, despite the efforts  of rescuers to save it.  

Operatives from the British Diving Marine Life Rescue (BDLMR) team and the Scottish Marine Animal  Stranding Scheme (SMASS) were alerted. Two hours were spent trying to save the 25 ft whale but it was pronounced dead at around 1:30pm. A video shows the whale in apparent distress, with injuries on its stomach and jaws.  

A BDLMR spokesperson said: “We mobilised teams from both sides of the Forth, including two sets of  rescue equipment in the hope that the whale would be able to be returned to the water.” Rescuers threw buckets of water over the whale and attempted to help it back into the Firth of Forth.  

An SMASS spokesperson said: “We will be carrying out a necropsy to investigate why it may have been  stranded.”  

Sei whales are the third largest of the rorqual whales, after the blue and fin whale.  They prefer deep offshore waters, but are occasionally spotted closer to shore. Although they have been heavily targeted for whaling, they are among the least understood of the whale  species.  

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The whale is suspected to have been driven onto the beach by prevailing winds during Storm Babet.  Whales have also been known to beach themselves due to illness, injury, weakness, or old age. 

Human-caused factors can also contribute to stranding. These include pollution, entanglement in fishing lines, and ship strikes, which can injure whales to the point  of becoming beached. Noise pollution also interferes with the sonar that whales use to navigate, and can disorientate them to the  point of driving them ashore.  

This is not the first stranding of a sei whale in Fife. Two were stranded earlier this summer.

Forth Rail Bridge et l’île fortifiée d’Inchgarvie, South Queensferry, West Lothian, Ecosse, Grande-Bretagne, Royaume-Uni.” by byb64 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.