Volunteers fail to save 18ft whale
HOPES for the survival of a minke whale were dashed yesterday when it was put to sleep by lethal injection.
The 18ft juvenile whale was found in a distressed state in a gully at Blackwater Pier about five miles from Kenmare, Co Kerry, at around 8am yesterday.
Despite efforts by locals and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to refloat the whale, the decision was made to put the animal out of its misery at about 4pm .
The scene at Blackwater Pier was described as "a wake" as over 100 locals came by to pay their respects to the latest local celebrity.
Francois Walsh, a vet with Kenmare Veterinary Clinic administered the injection.
Local ranger Michael O'Sullivan said the decision to put the whale to sleep was based on its chances of survival, after consultation with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.
"It was so long out of the water it was pointless to try to refloat it as its internal organs would have been damaged. At that stage it had been out of the water for eight hours.
"We tried doing what we could but we didn't have the equipment to slide it and the next high tide wasn't until 8.30pm," Mr O'Sullivan said.
Fishermen first noticed the whale swimming slowly near Blackwater pier early yesterday morning. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group were then notified.
Fisheries officer Tim Moore said there had been a huge turnout of volunteers wanting to help with the rescue operation.
"Just about everyone from the parish was there. It was like a wake," he said.
"Apparently, the whales beach themselves to die so there was probably nothing that could be done."