Female killer whale washed up in Co. Waterford

Stranded Killer Whale Ireland

Killer whale washed up on Co. Waterford beach (Image (c) Claire Scott, via IWDG)

The unusual stranding of a 5 metre female killer whale on the beach at Saleen, near Tramore in Co. Waterford on Friday (30/01/2015) has been in the news this weekend.

The whale, which was dead when it washed up, was said to be in “very fresh condition”, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). The whale’s teeth were very badly worn, leading some to speculate that this may have caused feeding difficulties that resulted in its of death.

A team from the IWDG and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) was due to perform a post-mortem on Sunday 01 February to attempt to discover a definitive cause of death. No details of the results of that post-mortem have yet been released.

This the 15th killer whale stranding recorded in the IWDG’s stranding database. The last such record was from  Co. Mayo back in October 2010.

January has seen what the IWDG describes as a “disturbingly high” number of stranding records from around the Irish coast. The group recorded 32 stranding events involving 9 identifiable cetacean species during the month. That is double the average number recorded in January over the last five years. Some of that increase, the group speculates, could be down to strong onshore winds in January pushing dead animals that would normally remain at sea onto Irish beaches. However it has also expressed concern on its website that the unusually high number of stranding events could reflect an increase in unnatural fatalities caused by entanglement in fishing-gear and a possible increase in naval sonar activity in the region.

Read more about the stranding on the IWDG Website.

Image Credit: © Claire Scott, via the IWDG

About Calvin Jones

Calvin Jones is a freelance writer, author, birder and lifelong wildlife enthusiast. He is founder and managing editor of IrelandsWildlife.com. He is also the tour leader and wildlife guide on our West Cork based Discover Wildlife tours.
Calvin is also co-author of bestselling digital marketing titles and offers digital business consulting services and training through Digital Marketing Success


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