Young orca thrown 25ft by Storm Caroline washed up on beach

Young orca thrown 25ft by Storm Caroline washed up on beach
Young orca thrown 25ft by Storm Caroline washed up on beach

A young killer whale that had been spotted in Scotland two weeks ago has sadly died after being thrown inland by the force of Storm Caroline.

The orca was seen in Eshaness recently but was unfortunately found washed up in a field on the Shetland shoreline.

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It is believed the bad weather saw the calf separated from its mother before it became stranded.

The Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary has carried out a post mortem on the remains.

It updated the public with a statement on Facebook, which read: "Yesterday we discovered the young killer whale that we found in Eshaness two weeks ago had died after being thrown high up on the shoreline by the ferocious Storm Caroline.

"Andrew Brownlow from Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme carried out a post mortem with a small group of helpers on what proved to be a perfect day with clear skies above us, which was a miracle in itself considering the weather we've been having lately.

"It took Andrew and his Shetland team three hours to dissect the whale and collect samples for analysis.

"By the end he concluded it had been a young juvenile, perhaps four years old, who was alive, healthy and had recently consumed a seal when it stranded in the sheltered bay at Hamnavoe, washed up by the 100mph hurricane that suddenly struck Shetland on the afternoon of Thursday 7 December.

"Such a sad end for one of the young orcas that have been inspiring whale watchers throughout these islands for the past couple of years.

"Local crofter Magnus Nicolson buried the whale, its skeleton to be recovered later for analysis and display, hopefully here in Shetland."

The sanctuary added that it was very sad to see the demise of a healthy young juvenile, particularly as there are no breeding pods around Scottish shorelines apart from around Shetland.