Monday 11 December 2017

Rare whale found on beach dies

A rare deepwater whale found beached on the north Antrim coast has died as fears emerged over the high rate of strandings on coasts around the island of Ireland.

An Irish whale and dolphin expert has described the number of strandings as "truly shocking".

The juvenile Sei whale, which was some nine metres in length, was stranded on a beach beside Red Bay pier near Waterfoot early yesterday.

The animal was thought to be too weak to refloat.

Ian Enlander from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group was called to the scene yesterday morning to examine the whale.

He told the BBC that the Sei whale that was found stranded was "incredibly rare in this part of the world".

"This is quite a young individual, so the likelihood is that it would still have been attended by its mother," he said.

"This is a deep open ocean species, so I suspect the young one has become separated from the mother somehow and has made its way into shallow water.

"It was clearly completely disorientated – some of the locals were describing to me that it was swimming round and round in tight circles," revealed Mr Enlander.

"Unfortunately, it was also a falling tide so really by the time that it's stranded in the condition we see it in now, there's absolutely nothing we can do."

Earlier this month, Mick O'Connell, strandings officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group described the increase in strandings around the Irish coast in recent years as "truly shocking."

"Looking at the numbers of cetacean strandings over the last few years, I do find the facts ringing alarm bells, and the worst part is not knowing what is, or are, the reasons for the changes," said Mr O'Connell.

Sunday Independent

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