There is growing concern for the welfare of a pilot whale which is still in shallow waters off the coast of Culross. 

Five of the mammals were spotted close to the pier in the River Forth this morning, four have swam away but there are fears that the one that's left may be ill or injured. 

A 20-strong team from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), a voluntary network of trained marine mammal medics, have been in West Fife all day and are still at the scene. 

A spokeswoman told the Press: "The animals re-floated themselves on the high tide but at the moment we've still got one in the bay which the team are monitoring. 

"They did end up against the pier wall so there's a good chance one may have been injured or it may be unwell.

"Because there's no beach there as such they've not been fully stranded and when the tide came in they managed to swim off. 

"Three swam off to the south side of the Forth and we've now lost sight of them, we're obviously losing light, and two went off in different directions, which means they could be severely distressed and confused. 

"Hopefully the others will make it out but we'll wait and see in the morning."

Crowds of people moved to the shore to see the whales, which were first spotted in Culross around 11am. 

George Connelly MBE sent a photo to the Press and said: "One appears to be injured and the others are staying close by to protect it and are attempting to move out to deeper water."

The spokeswoman added: "Pilot whales are about five and a half metres in length and it's not too common to see them as they are a deep water species. 

"It could be they've been spooked or sonar has confused them, or it could be one of them is unwell and they've followed it in until the end.  

"They are a very loyal and social species so they stay together, even stranding themselves. 

"The one still in the bay hasn't moved out and it could be because it's compromised in some way or have something wrong with it. We haven't had any reports of an injury.

"Usually if the whales can still hear another whale, that may be injured or ill, they won't leave it. 

"So we're not sure what's happened here."

The BDMLR is dedicated to the rescue and well-being of all marine animals in distress around the UK and appealed to members of the public to get in touch if they see the whales in trouble. 

She said: "We've got a big area to cover at the Forth and if they do strand elsewhere, or if people see something suspicious they think we should check out, they can call us on 01825 765546."