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27 October 2009
Postscript to stranded whale story (see 2/3 August)

The Autumn Newsletter of the Moray Firth Partnership gives further information about the two Northern Bottlenose whales that were stranded near Cromarty in August. (Both were given injections to humanely kill them, but one escaped into the Firth and was found dead near Tarbat a few days later.)

The smaller whale was sent for a postmortem to determine the cause of stranding. Bob Reid, from the Scottish Agricultural College’s Wildlife Unit said: “We are still awaiting the results of histopathology and neuropathology from the whale that we examined, so no conclusion has been reached yet.

"On gross examination, however, the lungs appeared abnormal, with a different colour and texture from normal. This was most probably caused by an infection. A bacterium Photobacter damselae was isolated from all organs and histological examination of these tissues will perhaps confirm that this animal had a bacterial septicaemia.

“The complete skeleton from the whale was taken to the National Museums of Scotland where it is being cleaned up and will be added to their extensive research collection."