Dungarvan sperm whale now dead and buried..Update

23rd Aug 2011 Report VI, 23rd Aug 2011, 15:00

It looks like Waterford Co. Co. will remove the sperm whale today for incineration. IWDG have collectively argued that this is a wasted opportunity, as the specimen, could have made a fantastic educational resource, not to mention the tourism potential that would flow from such a unique local attraction. The lack of vision from the powers that be is disappointing, especially when one considers that Youghal, in East Cork is only 15 miles away, and is where the original mastepiece "Moby Dick" was filmed with Gregory Peck back in 1955. We find it hard to imagine that a collective of agencies and individuals couldn't have pitched resources to explore options as to how best to exploit this wonderful and unique resource.

Anyway, human scavengers had already sawed off the lower jaw bones over-night, so the specimen was no longer intact and the initiative was lost. Large whale strandings of specimens in pristine condition, while uncommon, will occur again along the South and Southwest coast, and this incident may perhaps provide some food for thought for local authorities as to how they may respond to such strandings events in the future. All they need do is pick up the phone and ask the local community of Kilbrittain, West Cork, how they managed to retrieve, clean and display an intact skeleton of a fin whale from Courtmacsherry Bay during 2010. It just took a lot of energy, a little vision and of plenty of nasal plugs.

Report V, 20th Aug 2011, 09:15

We can confirm that the sperm whale was found dead by local NPWS Conservation Ranger Brian Duffy at 04:00am this morning 20/08/11. Given the situation with the tides access to the area should be possible from 12:00 to view the animal.

No decision has been taken as to what will happen to the carcass, but as the people of Kilbrittain, West Cork have shown, something very positive can come out of this situation if the skeleton can be retrieved as a local visitor/educational attraction. It is in our opinion a wasted opportunity when these magnificent specimens are simply hauled off for incineration. Do the people of Ring, Helvic, or Dungarvan have the energy and vision to take on what can be a long, arduous, smelly but ultimately rewarding task? Just check out the facebook page of Kilbrittain Whale, or it can be found through the IWDG's facebook page. It's worth remembering that this sperm whale is relatively small at just 35ft, the fin whale in Kilbrittain was 65ft length!

A huge thanks as always to IWDG members Paddy Roche and Deirdre Slevin for putting in the hard yards on the Wexford side on 18th & 19th, and to Andrew Malcolm and Ann Trimble for monitoring the whale in terrible weather yesterday. A special mention to Mac, who remained onsite overnight last night in preparation for large crowds today 20th.

Report IV, 19th Aug 2011, 14:30

Andrew Malcolm can confirm that the animal is still very much alive. It is c10.7m in length and is male. Local NPWS conservation ranger Brian Duffy is also onsite. Discussions with Waterford Co. Co. re disposal of the animal are clearly now premature. Based on previous live-strandings of this species, this saga may not end any time soon, and they have been known to survive several days out of the water. But we'd hope this will not be the case.

At time of leaving the animal around 18:00 due to the rapidly advancing tide, the whale was still alive. But alarmingly, despite requests from the local Coast Guard, some visitors refused to leave the site of the whale. There were families wading in waste high water, which was getting deeper, in order to see the whale. This is such an act of stupidity and one wonders whether somebody will have to drown tomorrow on this spit, before the local Gardai or Coast Guard start to control the situation?

Report III, 19th Aug 2011, 13:30

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