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Islanders help rescue orca stranded on Orkney beach

Islanders help rescue orca stranded on Orkney beach thumbnail

Publishedduration1 hour agoimage copyrightColin Headworth image captionOrca strandings are described as “incredibly rare”A young orca has been rescued after becoming stranded on a beach in Orkney.The 3.4m (11ft) long animal, thought to be a male, was spotted at Bay of Newark on Sanday on Monday.Volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity and…

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image copyrightColin Headworth

image captionOrca strandings are described as “incredibly rare”

A young orca has been rescued after becoming stranded on a beach in Orkney.

The 3.4m (11ft) long animal, thought to be a male, was spotted at Bay of Newark on Sanday on Monday.

Volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity and local residents spent more than an hour helping the orca.

They managed to get it into a position where it could breathe properly and eventually swim out into open water once the tide had come in.

BMLR said strandings of orca were “incredibly rare” and it believed the Sanday incident was the first successful rescue of an orca by its volunteers.

The charity said it would monitor the island’s beaches for the next few days to make sure the whale did not strand again.

image copyrightColin Headworth

image captionThe animal was thought to be a juvenile whale

A special stretcher for rescuing dolphins was used to keep the orca upright and not lying on its side.

The charity said: “After about an hour and with help from local residents to stabilise the animal, it suddenly took matters into its own fins and made a move to swim off.

“Unable to hold the animal any longer, the stretcher was lowered and the orca swam forward straight out towards the open sea.”

image copyrightColin Headworth

image captionBDMLR volunteers led the rescue effort

Orca can be seen around Scotland’s north and west coasts.

Animals from a pod known as the 27s were seen hunting seals off Sunday at Christmas, but the orca rescued on Monday is not from any of the pods seen around Orkney and Shetland.

Orkney Marine Mammal Research Initiative has been liaising with experts, including in Norway, to try and identify the young animal.

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