Another common dolphin stranding in West Cork

4th Apr 2011 IWDG received a call at 09:30am 4th April from Margaret Walsh, Clonakilty of a live-stranded dolphin to the rear of Inchydoney Island, West Cork. Whilst she watched the proceedings over a falling tide, it became completely stranded on the mudflats that enter Clonakilty Estuary. Her images forwarded to Dave Wall confirmed this to be a common dolphin.

Local member and supporter, William Helps volunteered to attend the site to monitor the situation. The prognosis wasn't looking too bad, as he found the animal to be in reasonable body condition, with no serious traumas and it seemed to have a stable breathing rate of <6 breaths per minute. but with only himself present at this remote spot on a miserably wet & windy day, he was short manpower for lifting an adult, female common dolphin.

We requested assistance from Local C103 Radio who put out an alert for help and before long some local farmers showed up with a JCB, so at least William had the means of moving the dolphin to the nearby channel which had sufficient water to support the animal. It was successfully lifted on a tarpaulin to the bucket of the JCB's loader but died in transit.

Interestingly, this is the 2nd documented stranding of this species in the past 6 days from this immediate area. On Wed 30th March a freshly dead common dolphin stranded on Maloney Strand on Seven Heads. It's possible that these strandings merely reflect the current stormy weather and onshore winds which may be carrying dead and dying animals on to local beaches.

The Seven Heads animal was subject to a dissection by Vets from St. John's College, Cork which was filmed by IWDG member Patrick Lyne. It's hoped that this event will be viewable on Youtube shortly, once the editing is finished. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but will be fascinating for anyone with an interest in marine mammal anatomy!

These recent dolphin strandings may serve as a useful reminder of the IWDG's up and coming 1 day cetacean stranding course being delivered by Simon Berrow in Kilrush, Co. Clare on Sunday 10th April. This course will include a comprehensive live stranding practical. Enquiries to

IWDG wish to thank Margaret Walsh of MSA Architects, Clonakilty for initially reporting this incident, and William Helps for assisting at the scene and having to make the difficult decisions. These events rarely have a happy ending.

Pádraig Whooley

Sightings Co-ordinator

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