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Saturday 10 December 2016

Stricken whale will be buried on beach

Published 21/08/2011 | 05:00

THE sperm whale that became stranded on the east coast is set to be buried at the beach where he finally died yesterday under the cover of the full tide.

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The whale took his last breath in the early hours of yesterday morning after suffering an agonisingly slow death on Cunniger Spit, outside Dungarvan, Co Waterford. But the passing of the gentle giant is set to remain a mystery as there won't be an post-mortem on the bull.

Experts waited for an hour-and-a-half after the whale moved with the last gasp of air -- deep divers regularly hold their breath for long periods of time -- before they finally pronounced him dead.

Waterford County Council is expected to bury him on the beach as it would prove very costly to move and dispose of the 20-tonne bulk.

Andrew Malcolm of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said they had been very careful to ensure the gigantic whale was definitely dead.

"The wildlife ranger Brian Duffy was with the whale at four in the morning at low tide and he was dead at that stage," he said.

"Before he died, the whale was very distressed. He was breathing very rapidly at times and at others he wasn't breathing at all for a long time. Occasionally he was also thrashing his tail."

Sunday Independent

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