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Sperm whale stranding Faroes Islands 23 November 16.55pm (c) Runi Nielsen

Sunday 23 November

Four sperm whales had been seen swimming and playing off the coast when a big storm with winds up to 108 mph hit the Islands on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, it was reported that three had stranded in shallow water between the islands of Streymoy and Esturoy in the Faroe Islands. A fourth had remained free but was swimming in and out of the area returning to the other whales. It has since left the area.

Of the remaining three, one drowned on Thursday evening after rolling over and being unable to right itself, and one was eventually seen to swim away safely on Saturday at about 5.30pm

The last whale, weighing around 30 tons, is currently still stranded. Due to the depth of water in the location, it has been impossible for a large enough vessel to attempt any form of rescue or intervention. However, the whale continues to be monitored by local scuba divers and others in the water, including Earthrace Conservation Faroe Island’s Rúni Nielsen, who have been with it 24 hours a day since the stranding. They are receiving guidance from specialists both from the Faroe Islands and from abroad.

Those trying to help it have been gently trying to stimulate the whale through close contact in the hope of encouraging it to refloat itself but so far, without success.

The experts, including biologists and marine mammal scientists, have said that it would be impossible to humanely euthanize the whale because of the sheer quantity of the drugs that would be required for an animal of that size.

The decision has been made to continue to monitor the whale but it is struggling to breath and it’s thought likely that it will not last the night.

UPDATE 24 November, 13.45 hours, via Earthrace Conservation Faroe Islands.
The second whale has passed away. He actually managed to get loose in high tide last yesterday night, but badly injured and disoriented he stranded on the other side of the sound north of the bridge. This morning it had floated away in the stronger currents on the other side, and ended up dead south of his original position.



Photo: Rúni Nielsen

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