Highlands & Islands

New image of Moray Firth's sunburned dolphin Spirtle

Sunburned dolphin Spirtle Image copyright WDC/Charlie Phillips
Image caption A photograph taken this week of sunburned dolphin Spirtle

A new photograph has captured the significant scarring left on the side of a dolphin that was badly sunburned while stranded on mudflats a year ago.

The bottlenose dolphin known as Spirtle was out of the water for 24 hours last May in the Cromarty Firth.

She was spotted by chance by a couple who had got lost trying to drive to a dolphin-watching spot at the Moray Firth.

Rescuers refloated the dolphin but did think she would survive.

Image copyright University of Aberdeen
Image caption Spirtle was badly sunburned after becoming stranded on mudflats in May last year

Whale and Dolphin Conservation field officer Charlie Phillips photographed Spirtle in the Moray Firth on Friday.

The University of Aberdeen and the Inverness-based Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) are monitoring the dolphin's survival from her injury.

At the time the female dolphin was stranded, SMASS said the blistering on her right side looked "horrific".

However, the scheme's scientists said that because of the make-up of dolphins' skin it had survived a burn that might have proved fatal in other animals,

Also, crucially, the wound was not infected.

Scientists and conservationists hope Spirtle might eventually breed and raise young.

Image copyright WDC/Charlie Phillips
Image caption A photograph taken of Spirtle and her sister's calf in September last year

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites