TWO rare whales have washed up and died on beaches in East Lothian this week.

Both were Sowerby’s beaked whales, an animal often found in waters around the UK and in the North Atlantic.

They measure more than five metres long and weight more than 1,000 kilograms, they are more dolphin-like than other beaked whales due to their long slender beak.

Sowerby’s beaked whales are said to be rare in the waters near East Lothian, one reason being due to the fact they are deep divers.

One washed up on the shore at the Brunstane Burn near Musselburgh on Tuesday (October 13) and the other at Gosford, between Longniddry and Aberlady, on Wednesday (October 14).

Attempts were made to help the whale washed up in Musselburgh, which had live stranded. It sadly died a few minutes after British Diving Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) arrived on scene.

The second, at Gosford, live stranded in the middle of the night, during the early hours of the morning, and had died by the time BDMLR had arrived.

It is not known how either whale died or ended up on East Lothian's shoreline at this stage.

East Lothian Council’s countryside rangers said: “Whilst it’s incredibly sad to see, it also provides an opportunity for organisations such as Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme to undertake post mortems to yield substantial information on the health and ecology of these fascinating but often little understood species.

“It can also help to highlight some of the conservation issues that cetaceans and other marine animals may face.”

It is not known how the whales died but a post-mortem is due to be carried out by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme.