UKCAP and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BMDLR) undertook a joint operation to save the lives of a number of pilot whales. UKCAP received a call from the BDMLR at 5pm on Saturday 26th May advising that a severe risk of a mass Pilot Wale stranding in St Catherine’s Bay, Stronsay, had been detected.
A pod of 15 pilot whales were very close to shore, with one apparently in distress. BDMLR have specialist pontoon sets positioned around the country to deal with a stranding, but for a mass stranding they needed to get as many sets and experts to Orkney as possible. Working together the two organisations were able to get essential staff, vets and equipment from across the UK to the operational area in an joint effort that spanned a number of days.
The pilot whales were shepherded to safer waters and the BDMLF teams on site were able to monitor their movements to ensure that they did not stray back into the dangerous areas. Building on this UKCAP and BDMLR are exploring ways to build on the joint capabilities that were used on the operation to be able to respond even more rapidly and effectively in the future.
For more detail about the operation and some video of the pilot whales please see our Facebook page: