Sunday 20 October 2019

'Concern': Third whale found washed up on coast

Plastic unlikely to blame: The female sperm whale on Sligo beach. Photo: Rosalie Vogt/Marie Casserly twitter page
Plastic unlikely to blame: The female sperm whale on Sligo beach. Photo: Rosalie Vogt/Marie Casserly twitter page
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

A female whale has been washed up on a beach in Sligo.

The 12-metre long sperm whale was found on Streedagh Beach.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said it was aware of the discovery and it follows a number of similar incidents over the past few months along the north-west coast.

However, it said that to have so many occurring was a cause for concern.

"Generally we get adult male sperm whales off the Irish coast so this is a little unusual," the IWDG said on its website.

"Having three sperm whales washed up along the west coast in a short period is now of concern.

"What could be causing these deaths?

"A lot of people following media coverage of the sperm whale washed up in the Mediterranean last week will blame plastic pollution.

"While we don't know if these whales have plastic in their stomachs, it's unlikely to have led to these strandings."

It added: "IWDG will explore some potential options regarding this increasingly unusual stranding pattern."

Reports

The IWDG said that another sperm whale was washed up last Sunday at Mace Head, Moyrus, near Carna, Co Galway.

The whale was reported to have also been around 12 metres in length.

A spokesperson added: "It's most likely the same whale reported floating by commercial fishermen fishing out of Ballyconneelly."

The group said that while three strandings was a "little unusual", there is nothing to suggest that there is something more sinister going on.

Irish Independent

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