Fin whale stranding, Courtmacsherry, Co Cork... UPDATES

20th Jan 2009 Update 23/01/09

Dan Crowley of Cork County Council has just informed the IWDG that 28.68 tonnes of whale were removed for incineration in Waterford. Obviously the whale was much heavier with fluid loss and the weight of the skeleton also to be considered. The cost to Cork County Council of removing this whale is in the region of €10,000 just for rendering and removal. Samples taken from the whale suggested it had acute respiratory failure but it might not be possible to fully confirm this diagnosis.

Update 22/01/09

Derek Mooney will be broadcasting an interview with Joy Reidenberg, Associate Professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine on this Friday 23 January edition of Mooney Goes Wild on RTE Radio 1. Joy was over in Ireland to oversee the post-mortem examination of the fin whale. She is very articulate and knowledgeable and I'm sure will make very interesting listening. There is no scheduled time for transmission so it will be on between 15:00 and 16:30.

Day 6: Update 20/01/09 at 14:00 pm

This is likely to be the final report on the Courtmacsherry estuary fin whale, which was successfully lifted off the strand last night.

The seabirds and a host of other marine scavengers will do their job and leave the site in the same condition it was in prior to the stranding.

Now that the skeleton can be moved it will be cleaned at a more leisurely pace without fear of rising tides and failing light. Let's hope the bones are safe from scavengers of a human kind, so that the whale can remain intact for public display. All going well the end result should look something like this gray whale on display in Baja, California, Mexico. Well done to all involved....PHEW!

Day 5: Update 19/01/09 at 18:00 pm

We will continue to report on this event until there is nothing much left to report. But we are now close to the end of this saga, which began five day ago. Gone are the massive crowds, the County Council, vets and researchers, local emergency services, TV presenters and film crews, and the journalists have left in search of greener pastures. Ironically, one of the chip wagons is still on site.

But there is still work to be done, and for those with a weak stomach these images come with a health warning! But we have to hand it to the men of Kilbrittain, as they continued to work on the carcass despite the biting cold. I left the scene as darkness fell, and they continued to work into the night. After yesterday's joint efforts the fin whale's body weight was reduced so much that the carcass moved during the night, so it is a race against time and tide to ensure it is removed from the estuary tonight.

The work is physical and unpleasant in the extreme, but the crew of about 20 men are well up to the challenge and we've little doubt will succeed. IWDG will offer them any support or advice in the coming weeks/months on how best to prepare or display the skeleton. There are sadly a few pieces missing, which on their own are meaningless. The whale should if possible be kept intact, and we would encourage whoever has the pectoral fin (flipper) to try to get it back to those in whose trust the state has placed the skeleton.

Day 4: Update 18/01/09 at 23:00 pm

After another exhausting day working on the whale, there is now a sense that this saga is coming to a close. By nightfall the following had been achieved:

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