Whale strandings link probed by Scotland's Rural College vets
Vets are investigating whether there is a connection between three whale strandings off Scotland's east coast in the past week.
On Tuesday, a pilot whale died after getting stuck in the shallows off Silverknowes, north of Edinburgh.
On Friday, a minke whale had to be put down after stranding in the Firth of Forth off Crombie point in Fife, and a pygmy sperm whale stranded off Banff.
Vets from Scotland's Rural College are carrying out autopsies on the mammals.
SRUC veterinary investigation officer, Dr Andrew Browlow, said: "Based on what we know at the moment, it is unlikely that the strandings are linked because each has involved a different species of whale and initial indications would show they were suffering from different problems.
"However, we cannot be sure until our full investigations are complete."
Dr Brownlow said the pilot whale which stranded on Tuesday was possibly suffering from a brain disorder, although test results to confirm this are awaited.
The minke whale discovered off Crombie point was in a thin condition, suggesting it possibly stranded as a result of being lost.
The cause of the rare stranding of the female pigmy sperm whale off Banff Bay in Abderdeenshire is not yet clear.
The Scottish government-funded Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme collates, investigates and reports information on stranded marine animals for Scotland.
It is managed by the SRUC Veterinary Investigation Centre in Inverness.
Members of the public who discover a stranded marine animal have been urged to report it to the Strandings Scheme.