You may have heard about the Pilot Whale stranding that took place recently on Skye. If not, a brief overview:
We recently put together a basic team of BDMLR trained medics to respond to any whale and dolphin strandings in our area. Two of us from Ullapool responded to a report of whales acting suspiciously on Monday 1st June at Staffin on Skye. We reached Staffin bay and observed the animals and at approximately 3.30 am 21 whales came ashore at Brogaig beach - we suspect due to the fact one member was in difficulty giving birth and the others refused to leave her. We managed to get 18 back in the water sadly lost 3.
14 of the returned pod restranded on the nearby Staffin Island and we had to get to the island and as the tide had turned, sit for a heart wrenching 12 hours waiting for tide to rise again.
We managed to refloat 10 in total and are still waiting on word of how they are doing.
The incident saw BDMLR medics, volunteers from other organisations and members of the public (including tourists that happened to be passing) show up to help and give all they could to do everything to save the stranded animals but highlighted a tragic fact. The north west coast of the Highlands has huge numbers of resident porpoise and migratory dolphin and whales passing through the Hebrides, Minch and along our vast coast but we have no permanent whale rescue pontoon on hand. We are going to do what we can to train more people to help in strandings but we are a charity and all volunteers with limited resources so are asking for your help to fund a new pontoon that will be kept on the west coast at all times so as to minimise waiting for pontoons to be brought from as far away as Aberdeen and Dundee - the roads and distances in the Highlands mean it can take hours to reach the more remote parts of the coast. Critical hours.
Time can be a factor in determining the chances of survival for these wonderful animals and we promise to do what we can to save them if you can help us have the equipment on hand to do what we can. This pontoon will save lives.
The amount we are asking will allow us to have a pontoon with two air bottles held centrally on the west coast of Scotland that will be mobilised to cover the north west coast, Skye and can even be put out to Lewis and Hebrides and transported to incidents further afield if other teams need assistance.
These animals make living here a pleasure and also do a lot to attract visitors to the area so we want to ensure we can provide them with the best protection we can when they are in our waters.
Thank you to everybody that helped at Staffin and thank you to everyone that hopefully helps us raise this target to purchase a whale pontoon and help save whales at any future stranding.
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