Two killer whales have been spotted off the coast of Kerry.
For the second time in just three months, the Orcas were observed off Bray Head, Valentia Island, Co Kerry.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) Sightings Officer Pádraig Whooley has said that upon reviewing videos and images sent to the IWDG the group confirmed the sightings.
The two adult males, known as John Coe and Aquarius, are the sole survivors from the Scottish West Coast Community Group, who hail from Hebrides, Scotland.
“This is only one of three killer whale sightings validated by IWDG in 2022, which serves to remind us just how rare sightings of this apex predator are in Irish coastal waters,” he said in a statement.
“This is a particularty interesting record as it puts this pair off Valentia Island on both April 2nd and July 21st. But where else have they been during this 111 day period?”
Whooley said that his colleague Siobhan Moran of the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust shed some light on the mystery.
“She informed us today that the pair were seen as recently as the end of June off Mull and this month off Skye on July 2nd. So between these two Kerry sightings they have likely circumnavigated Ireland and ventured as far north as their core Hebridean habitat.
“Clearly marine apex predators are similar to their terrestrial equivilents in that they need the freedom to forage over a wide area, to maximise their chance of successfully locating and killing prey that often has a patchy distribution, which in their case includes other marine mammals such as pinnipeds and even minke whales,” he said.
The IWDG thanked Nicky Sheehan of Skellig Michael Cruises and Dr. Connie Kelleher for reporting their sightings with images and video to the group.
He said the sightings have provided very useful insights into how killer whales forage both in Irish coastal waters and further afield.
“Such sightings are timely ahead of All Ireland Whale Watch day, which IWDG is hosting on Saturday 20th August at 18 sites around the Irish coast,” he added.
“This event is suitable for all ages and is aimed at everyone from the novice wildlife enthusiast to more experienced naturalist with an interest in biological recording.”