TESTS are set to be carried out on a killer whale that has been washed up on a beach in Shetland.

The dead orca was spotted at the uninhabited beach at Linga, with Scottish Natural Heritage later confirming that it was an adult.

Local manager Karen Hall said the organisation is keen to get samples from the whale to find out more about its death and to see if it was in a photo ID catalogue.

Staff from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme are also considering coming to Shetland from their base in Inverness to assess the orca.

It was discovered almost a year after one of the last nine remaining resident killer whales in the UK was found dead on a beach in the Inner Hebrides.

That orca, known to researchers as Lulu, was discovered beached on Tiree on January 3 last year.

Lulu was one of a pod of orcas that patrol the waters around the Hebrides and eastern Irish coast.

Scientists now believe there might be just eight animals remaining in the pod, the only resident orca community in British waters.

No calves have been born since researchers first began tracking the West Coast orcas in the 1980s, with some biologists claiming pollution in the water has led to high rates of infant mortality.

Scotland’s only resident family of killer whales seems doomed to die out.

The small, isolated population of five males and three females have never produced offspring since studies began, raising fears it faces imminent extinction.

Some killer whales have been discovered to regularly travel over 800 miles from Iceland each summer.