Friday 20 April 2018

'Human scavengers' saw jaw bone off beached whale

Eimear ni Bhraonain

MARINE volunteers were horrified yesterday to find someone had sawn off part of a dead whale's jaw bone with a chainsaw.

The 35-ft sperm whale was washed up on the beach at Cunniger spit in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, on Friday before it finally died on Saturday.

A pungent smell was coming from the whale when members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) went to the beach at 7.30am yesterday to salvage the jaw bones.

They wanted to preserve them for future educational purposes, however, a "human scavenger" had already hacked off 40cm of the massive jaw.

The local authority, meanwhile, spent €5,000 dealing with the whale incident. Council officials said the whale could not be tipped into the sea because of a European dumping at sea directive. They were also concerned that they could not leave the whale on the beach for a prolonged period as it is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under EU law.

The IWDG wanted the council to consider skinning the whale and preserving the carcass before putting it on display or donating it to a museum.

But Waterford County Council would have needed special permission to keep the whale on the beach for any period of time -- and it felt the "simplest, quickest solution" should be taken.

The whale was hauled into a skip in under an hour before being transported to a rendering plant in Waterford City early yesterday.

Irish Independent

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