Marine rescue chiefs have repeated a ‘hands-off’ warning for beach visitors who may come across a stranded sealife on the sands of Tayside and Fife.
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) personnel have been involved with other agencies involving whale beachings along local coasts, but have said to the public they should not get too close to mammals which can bite back or pass on disease.
The warning follows the death of a 45-foot sperm whale near Monifieth, and an incident in which a young dolphin was rescued after beaching at St Andrews.
A BDMLR spokesperson said: “We would like to remind the public that if you see a marine mammal in difficulty then it is time critical to call BDMLR so we can mobilise our rescue teams and equipment.
“Please do not pick up animals and put them back in the water as this is the wrong option and may cause further suffering to the animal.
“It must be assessed by our team and vet to decide the best option.”
The spokesman added: “This especially applies to seals and dolphins, as seals can give nasty bites and dolphins and whales can pass some serious diseases to humans from their breath.
“The risk of disease is why we ask people to keep away and let us deal with the rescue as we are trained and have special protective equipment.
Anyone requiring help for a marine mammal should call 01825765546 (office hours) or 07787433412 (out of hours),” the BDMLR added.