A YOUNG minke whale has been put down after beaching itself on the banks of the Forth – the second this week to do so.
A dog walker called coastguard after spotting the 15ft animal around 7.30am this morning near Torryburn in Fife.
The minke whale was reported to be distressed and “trembling,” and rescuers were unable to re-float the animal..
Firefighters poured water on the beached mammal using a fire engine hose and it was covered with sheets to prevent its skin cracking.
But as the rescue operation dragged on it became clear the whale could not be re-floated for several hours, and vets had no choice but to put it down.
On Tuesday this week a young pilot whale died after becoming stranded on the shore near Edinburgh.
Experts feared the pilot whale had contracted a neurological condition, and had considered euthanising the animal before it stopped breathing of its own accord.
Rescuers believe the mink whale, which can grown to more than 20ft long, had been lying on the beach since the early hours of Friday morning.
The whale had scrape marks on its body, and a huge gash on its front fin thought to be from rocks.
Vets are being called in to make a “humane decision,” after a team from British Divers Marine Life Rescue were unable to refloat the animal.
Corinne Gordon from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said: “All the whales are following their feeding pattern so it’s not unusual for them to come this far at this time of year.
“All we can do at the moment is keep it comfortable and the towels keep it damp, we must keep it moistured.”It’s more humane to euthanise it at this point.”
A spokeswoman for British Divers Marine Life Rescue added later: “It’s not possible for it to be refloated, we’re just waiting on the right people to turn up to euthanise the whale.”
A small crowd gathered on the banks of the Forth near the site of the whale, which is more than a mile from the nearest town.
Charles McVicars, 69, from nearby Torryburn said: “We walk up and down here all the time,
“We’re praying for it but i don’t think it’ll survive unless they get it back in the water.
“I think the tide went out quickly and made the whale stuck in the rocks. What a shame.”
Rescue workers later cleared the beach as hopes of saving the whale faded.
Alison Craig, a lecturer in animal biology at Napier University, said: “It could just be a coincidence that two have stranded in the Forth within a few days of each other, but if any others begin to appear then we’d need to start considering explanations beyond coincidence.
“The pilot whale was showing some neurological symptoms, and it may turn out that it was infected with Brucella since that has been found in a number of stranded cetaceans.
“The minke whale looks to be so far out of the water that quite frankly the sooner it can be euthanised the better because its chances of survival are absolutely minimal.”