Live stranded dolphins in Kerry and Louth !

15th Aug 2009 Early yesterday morning Peggy Fitzgerald from Cloghane in North Kerry phoned up the IWDG to report that a dolphin had recently been refloated by her son. At 6pm the Irish Coastguard phoned the IWDG to report a porpoise/dolphin on the neach at Annagashen, Co Louth. These events take place only a few days after a common dolphin was live stranded a week earlier on 8 August at Seapoint, Co Dublin !!!

Nick Massett reports from Co Kerry

At 0945 today a dolphin was reported live stranded at Cappagh Strand near Cloghane in Brandon Bay, Kerry. This animal was discovered by local man Mícheál Fitzgerald in two to three feet of water and encouraged back into the deeper water by him. Nick Massett IWDG went to investigate and spotted the dolphin now re-stranded in the middle of the estuary on a sandbank in a falling tide.

A bit of local knowledge of the sandbars was required to get to this animal now and brothers Diarmuid and Aoghan Mulchay joined Nick and Mícheál to provide assistance.

Approaching from the other side of the estuary this bottlenose, now stranded high and dry, was assessed . It was a ten-foot six male that apart from the usual rake marks and such appeared robust, healthy and still full of life thrashing its tail.

A decision was taken that although this animal had now stranded twice an attempt to refloat it would be made. With more help from the O'Rourke clan a tarpaulin was utilised as a sling and with ten people lifting it was just possible to safely transport it the thirty metres to the sea. However its breathing cycle was becoming shorter and more erratic during this process and ironically the animal died as it was refloated at 14.45. The trauma on top of any inherant ailment was obviously too much for this dolphin. This raises the recurring question of the ethical issues involved in intervening in a stranding situation.

Simon Berrow reports from Co Louth

This cetacean (probably a common dolphin from its description) had stranded a number of times at Annagashen, Co Louth and Sarah Crilly was on the beach reporting events to the IWDG. IWDG policy is to contact the local NPWS Conservation Rangers but no management staff could be raised. Brendan Price with colleagues from the Irish Seal Sanctuary managed to refloat the animal once more. Louth County Vet Gareth Shine, who had recently attended the IWDG Seminar for vets in Galway, contacted the IWDG and was prepared to euthanase the dolphin if it re-stranded or recover for post-mortem examination. IWDG members in Co Louth are asked to look for a dolphin (or porpoise) freshly stranded on their local beaches this morning.

Images and tissue samples were obtained from the bottlenose dolphin in Cloghanes. A search will be carried out of the Shannon Dolphin Photo-id Catalogue ( and the Irish Coastal Bottlenose Dolphin Catalogue to see if this dolphin has been seen before.

This recent spate of live strandings following those recent bottlenose dolphin and pilot whales live strandings in North Kerry is puzzling. Is the IWDG network working so well that we get to hear about strandings more quickly which previously would have died, or is there a sudden increase in live strandings. the answer is not clear.

Many thanks to all those who assisted in al these events

Dr Simon Berrow,

IWDG Co-ordinator

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