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Friday 29 August 2014

'They needed to be given a chance' - Two pilot whales beach again despite public's efforts to save them

Denise Calnan

Published 10/07/2014 | 14:20

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Three of the 13 whales that have been stranded on a beach off Donegal
Three of the 13 whales that have been stranded on a beach off Donegal
Three of the 13 whales that have been stranded on a beach off Donegal
Three of the 13 whales that have been stranded on a beach off Donegal
Screengrab image taken from the Twitter feed of @BarryWhyte85 of  six of the 13 whales that have been stranded on a beach off Donegal
Screengrab image taken from the Twitter feed of @BarryWhyte85 of six of the 13 whales that have been stranded on a beach off Donegal

A local who attempted to save two of the beached whales in Donegal said the dying mammals had to be ‘given a chance’.

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Gareth Doherty defied expert advice and moved two of the beached pilot whales at Ballyness Bay in Falcarragh, Co Donegal back to sea.

However, the two whales beached again today, one dead and one remaining in critical health.

A pod of thirteen pilot whales beached at Ballyness Bay in Falcarragh, Co Donegal on Monday.

Three of the 13 whales that have been stranded on a beach off Donegal
Three of the 13 whales that have been stranded on a beach off Donegal

Eight of the whales had died by Tuesday evening. Gardai sealed off the beach and advised members of the public to stay away.

The NPWS made the decision to leave the whales to die on the beach and warned people not to touch the mammals.

However, members of the public returned two whales to the sea in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The live mammal and the carcass have become stranded again, with one located at a beach on Inis Bo Finne and another near Cnoc Fola.

Local Gareth Doherty who attempted to save the whales said they had to be ‘given a chance’.

“It has been done successfully before, in Scotland beached whales have successfully floated off,” he told RTE’s Radio One.

“It should be a human right to help these animals

“If there is any chance they can be saved, you have to do it,”

“I’m for a natural death but at some point you have to give them a chance.

Meanwhile, a NPWS spokesperson said the process for dealing with beached up whales needs to be reviewed.

“People look to us to take charge but there’s a limit to our legal remit,” he said.

“After this incident, what we do need to look at is what kind of systems can be put in place if something like this happens again.”

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