January 13th, 2017. A killer whale has washed up dead on a small island off mainland Shetland.
The orca was discovered on the shoreline of the uninhabited island of Linga on Thursday.
Scientists hope to study the corpse to learn more about orcas living in Scottish waters.
The Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (Smass) said the island’s remoteness could make that difficult.
A spokesman said: “The whale is in a fresh condition and Smass is going to attempt to get to the island to do a necropsy and hopefully establish the cause of death.
“This is a unique opportunity to learn more about these important members of the marine ecosystem, however, given its location, it is going to be logistically challenging and at this point in time we are unsure whether we will be able to get to the island at all.”
A family of Icelandic killer whales were spotted in the Moray Firth in May last year.
Concerns have been raised over the future of orcas living on Scotland’s west coast.
A whale known as Lulu was found dead on Tiree in the Inner Hebrides on January 3 last year.
Scientists now believe there may be just eight orcas remaining in the pod, which is the only killer whale community native to British waters.