Another beaked whale stranding on the Irish coast

28th May 2013

Dermot Breen, conservation ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service contacted the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group earlier today with details and photos of a dead beaked whale stranded at Aillebrack, Ballyconneely, Co. Galway. It is a 5m long female and the gender makes species identification tricky as the two teeth in beaked whales only fully erupt in adult males. Best guess at the moment is that it is either a True's or Sowerby's beaked whale.

On 12th May 2013 an adult female beaked whale live stranded and died at Five Fingers Strand, Malin, Co. Donegal and on 14th May a juvenile beaked whale, which had also live stranded, was found at Trawbreaga Bay, Malin. Both of these are thought to have been True's beaked whales (awaiting confirmation from DNA test) and were removed to Athlone for post mortem. This initial double stranding could be seen as rare but not unusual in that it is reasonable to assume that the calf was likely to have been reliant on the female. However the recent stranding, which was first reported on the evening of 27th May, raises new questions. The poor condition of the carcass suggests that it may have died in or around the same time as the Donegal whales so it is of some concern that there may be a common cause linking all three strandings.

Mick O' Connell,

IWDG Strandings Officer