^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ J. Michael Williamson Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <http://whale.wheelock.edu> Associate Professor-Science Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215 voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256 fax: 617.734.8666, or 617.566.7369 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Mon, 31 Mar 97 12:40:00 GMT From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Hopes fade as whale is strande Hopes fade as whale is stranded again By Joe Quinn, PA News Hopes for the safety of a 40ft sperm whale nicknamed "Moby" all but vanished today when he was again found stranded on mudflats in Scotland's Firth of Forth. Rescuers said his plight was hopeless and appealed for the public to stay away to let him die in peace. On a previous stranding yesterday, children had thrown stones at him, said Alex Kilgour, spokesman for the Deep-Sea World aquarium, which has been monitoring Moby's progress. "The most important thing now is for people to stay away and let him die in peace," said Mr Kilgour. He said the whale was three-quarters out of the water on a mud flat in shallow waters near Airth, central Scotland, on the south bank of the Forth. With the tide receding he would be stranded for several hours and nothing could be done to alleviate his plight. Experts from Deep-Sea World were heading for the scene to try to comfort "Moby" in his last hours. A beached whale usually dies quickly due to the sheer weight imposed on the animal's internal organs when the mammal is deprived of buoyancy. In Moby's case, his life could be prolonged if the mudflats were soft, said Mr Kilgour. "We are all very, very sad about what has happened, especially after thinking at one stage that this could have a happy ending." Moby first appeared in the Forth 12 days ago and fear that he could come to grief in the upstream shallows prompted attempts to direct him to safety using the noise of boats to nudge him downstream. These succeeded at the third attempt, last Sunday, when Moby ventured eastwards and cleared the Forth road and rail bridges. He had previously refusal to swim under them, perhaps frightened by traffic noise. He became briefly stranded after that, but then freed himself - only to be seen in the area again on Tuesday night. He was then seen again on Sunday, grounded for some time at Bo'ness in central Scotland, before being located today at Airth. Deep-Sea world experts now believe his repeated attempts to swim west up the Forth may be because his direction-finding is confused by the wrong turning which took him into the North Sea in the first place. They believe he and some other whales on their annual migration route from the Arctic to the Azores turned left too soon off the north of Scotland - down into the North Sea rather the next left into the Atlantic. His repeated attempts to swim west up the Forth might indicate he was still trying to reach the Atlantic, unaware of that he was in a dead end.