TRAGIC pictures show a “young male” whale that died after washing up on the shore.
The Sowerby’s beaked whale was discovered yesterday near Brunstane Burn as it struggled to get back into the deeper water near Musselburgh, East Lothian.
A team of volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the SSPCA attended the scene and attempted to return it to the water.
However, after hours desperately trying to save it, the whale passed away.
Images taken of the beached whale show its battered and bruised body partially submerged in the waters.
Other images show the team of volunteers in protective gear rallying around the bloodied sea creature.
The heartbreaking images were captured by Michael Reville, from Portobello, Edinburgh who shared the images on Facebook saying “Sowerby’s Beaked Whale I am informed. Young male. Rare around here.”
The pictures prompted an emotional response online.
One user wrote under the post: “Looks like it’s been scraping up and down on the rocky beach for a while. Poor soul.”
Another user said: “We alerted sea mammal rescue, and saw it when taking the dogs out.
“Tried to help for some time but the poor thing drowned. So absolutely devastating not being able to help it.”
One local said: “So devastating to see it dead on a beach though.”
A spokeswoman for the SSPCA told local media: “We were alerted to the distressed Sowerby’s beaked whale at around 12.30pm on Tuesday 13 October.
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the whale sadly passed away.
“There are lots of reasons whales and other marine mammals sometimes beach themselves such as changing tide or losing their way.
“The body will be taken for post-mortem by the National Museum of Scotland to try to ascertain why this happened.
“If anyone comes across a sick, injured or distressed animal they should call the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”
The Sowerby’s beaked whale is rarely-seen and very little is known about it.
The species is thought to inhabit the deep offshore water in the North Atlantic ocean.
According to the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, there have been around 60 recorded strandings of the species around the UK in the last 24 years.