Likely Killer whale pod re-sighting

23rd Sep 2005 Recent communiqués with Dr. Don Cotton, Sligo IT, on his sighting of a group of 4 killer whales from Mullaghmore Hd, Co. Sligo, in Donegal Bay on 17th Sept., suggest that they may be the same pod photographed by Roly Wysner, Foyle Agency, off Kinnogue Bay, Inishowen on 7th July. Having reviewed Roly's images, Don is confident that these are the same group.

We base this on the following

• Sightings of this apex predator are uncommon anywhere in Irish waters

• Strong spatial proximity of two sites: Lough Foyle (Derry/Donegal) and Donegal Bay (Donegal/Sligo)

• Short gap in sightings: 7th July, Lough Foyle & 17th Sept Donegal Bay

• Both groups were of 4 large adults

• Neither group comprised any calves or juveniles

Although in the absence of photo-identification matches of at least one whale from each sighting event, we can never be 100% certain that these are the same pod. The similarities do however suggest they could be.

This is interesting, as it gives us some insight into the movements of this top marine predator in Irish waters.

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