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Number of bottlenose dolphins washed up dead after getting caught in shallow water in the Cromarty Firth rises to five

By Val Sweeney

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Most of the bottlenose dolphins eventually swam to deeper water. Picture: WDC/Charlie Phillips
Most of the bottlenose dolphins eventually swam to deeper water. Picture: WDC/Charlie Phillips

The death toll of the bottlenose dolphins which became stuck in shallow water in the Cromarty Firth has now risen to five.

Scientists are carrying out investigations in a bid to determine the cause of death, and shed light on possible causes for the incident after a 50-strong group ended up in the shallows near Nigg.

The incident, which happened at the weekend, did not involve the local bottlenose dolphin population.

Although the majority were able to reach the safety of deeper water on the incoming tide, the bodies of two dolphins were found nearby.

Since then two more have been washed up in the Cromarty Firth while another one has been found near Findhorn in the Moray Firth.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation field officer Charlie Phillips said: "Over the next couple of days, it is possible there may be more.

"I certainly hope not."

Mr Phillips said post mortems were being carried out on the by scientists from the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (SMASS).

Sarah Pern, owner and skipper of Cromarty-based EcoVentures which specialises in marine wildlife watching trips, was alerted to the situation facing the dolphins after they became stuck.

"I have never seen anything like it on this scale," she said.

"It is very shallow where they were.

"They must have misjudged it especially as they don't know the area.

"Luckily, with the timing they went in on a low tide and so they didn't stay there too long.

"It would have been impossible to reach them where they were."

Investigations carried out on bottlenose dolphins after dying in Cromarty Firth

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