Huge 11-foot orca ‘killer whale’ rescued after getting stranded on a beach on the island of Orkney


Free Willy! Huge 11-foot orca ‘killer whale’ is rescued after getting stranded on a beach on the island of Orkney

  • Animal became stranded on the island off Scottish island on Monday
  • The whale was re-floated and became strong enough to swim back out to sea
  • Dan Jarvis, 35, led team from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) to help 

An 11-foot-long orca ‘killer whale’ was rescued after getting stranded on a beach on the Scottish island of Orkney. 

Locals on the island, off the north-eastern coast of Scotland, dashed to help the animal on Monday and were able to re-float it successfully.

And the whale, which was just over 11-feet in length (3.4metres) was eventually strong enough to swim back out to sea.

Dan Jarvis, 35, led a team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) to help residents on the island in the recovery mission.

An 11-foot-long orca ‘killer whale’ was rescued after getting stranded on a beach on the Scottish island of Orkney

Locals on the island, off the north-eastern coast of Scotland, dashed to help the animal on Monday and were able to re-float it successfully

Locals on the island, off the north-eastern coast of Scotland, dashed to help the animal on Monday and were able to re-float it successfully

‘Our team were shocked to find this animal was an orca, as it was initially reported as a dolphin. 

‘We do not get many orca visiting the coasts of the UK and as such a live stranding incident is extremely rare,’ Mr Jarvis, the charity’s welfare development and field support officer, said on Thursday.

‘It was an absolute privilege to be so fortunate to have trained BDMLR Medics on the remote island who were quickly and professionally able to provide appropriate aid to the animal and overjoyed that it was able to be successfully refloated.

‘First Aid measures, such as getting the animal upright carefully and supported comfortably, keeping it wet and timing breathing rates, were all employed while an assessment was carried out.’

And the whale, which was just over 11-feet in length (3.4metres) was eventually strong enough to swim back out to sea

And the whale, which was just over 11-feet in length (3.4metres) was eventually strong enough to swim back out to sea

Dan Jarvis, 35, led a team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) to help residents on the island in the recovery mission

Dan Jarvis, 35, led a team from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) to help residents on the island in the recovery mission

The charity, which responds to more than 2,000 callouts annually, was grateful for the support of locals on Monday

The charity, which responds to more than 2,000 callouts annually, was grateful for the support of locals on Monday

Pictures show rescuers helping the animal to move away after they got it back into the water

Pictures show rescuers helping the animal to move away after they got it back into the water

The charity, which responds to more than 2,000 callouts annually, was grateful for the support of locals on Monday.

Mr Jarvis added: ‘With First Aid being provided, it was able to be refloated on the incoming tide using a specialist dolphin stretcher by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team along with help from local residents on the island.

‘Once the animal was seen to be fit and strong enough for refloatation a specialist dolphin stretcher was used underneath the animal to support it properly as the water got higher around it, until it was deep enough to swim freely, at which point it took off strongly out to sea.

‘People are thrilled to hear about the rescue work that we do with marine mammals in the UK. 

‘They are often keen to learn about the many threats marine mammals face and what they can do to help reduce and prevent these things from happening, including issues such as pollution and climate change.’

Killer whales: One of the top predators of the sea 

Killer whales, also known as orcas and blackfish, are one of the top predators in the sea.

They are apex predators that have been known to eat most animals, including large sharks.

Highly intelligent and social creatures, they work as a pack to hunt and kill their prey.

Killer whales, also known as orcas and blackfish, are one of the top predators in the sea

Killer whales, also known as orcas and blackfish, are one of the top predators in the sea

Killer whales are technically a species of dolphin but will hunt other types of dolphin for food.

Orcas are considered the largest species of the dolphin family.

They weigh up to 6 tons (5,443 kilograms) and grow to 23 to 32 feet (7 to 9.7 meters) – almost as long as a school bus.

The predators’ diet can vary depending on region but they have been known to eat anything from sea birds and squid to sharks and even moose.

Dolphins do make up a portion of their diet, but footage of it is uncommon.

Killer whales are found in all oceans but are most abundant in colder waters such as Antarctica, around Norway and in Alaska.

The most well-studied killer whale populations live in the eastern North Pacific Ocean.



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