Locals rescue young orca stranded on Scottish beach

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
Image was taken many nautical miles offshore from the North Island, out in blue water in the open ocean during one very lucky encounter.
An orca (not pictured) got stranded on a beach in Orkney, Scotland. (Getty)

Residents have rescued a young male orca after it got stranded on a beach in Orkney, Scotland.

They came together to save the animal when it got into trouble near Tres Ness on Monday.

Locals Colin and Heather Headworth initially spotted the orca in Bay of Newark before alerting a neighbour and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) area coordinator Emma Neave-Webb.

Neave-Webb then notified a small team who helped to get the animal back in the water.

BDMLR described the rescue in a Facebook post: “On arrival to the stranding site, Medics found the animal was in fact a young orca in good condition, but lying on its side in the surf parallel to the sea with the tide quickly coming in.”

The organisation added: “After putting out a shout to local residents for more manpower, the team immediately set about up-righting the animal to aid breathing and to ensure the blowhole was out the water.

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“As the tide came in and more water helped to lift the young animal, the Medics were able to rotate it to face the incoming sea and slowly move the new dolphin stretcher under the animal.

“Once upright it started lifting its head clear to breath and showed signs of being able to hold itself upright in the water.”

The organisation, which said it believed this was the first time an orca had been refloated in the UK, said the 3.4-metre animal was around three to four years old and was no longer maternally dependent.

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It took the team an hour to stabilise the animal before it suddenly made off by itself.

The team then lowered the stretcher and the orca swam forward to the open sea.

BDMLR said: “It rolled a couple of times and then submerged and continued straight out away from the beach without looking back.

“After monitoring for an hour, Medics were confident the animal was no longer in the location and are hopeful it will stay out.”

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The organisation said it would be monitoring the coast over the coming days to make sure there were no more strandings.

It added that the young male may have left its pod or they could be further offshore.

But BDMLR said it was confident the orca would survive because it was in good condition which indicates it had been feeding recently.

The organisation thanked everyone involved in the rescue including the residents who helped.

Orcas are seen regularly in Orkney but strandings are rare.

BDMLR Orkney has set up a fundraising page to help fund its work.

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