Mass stranding of common dolphins in Co. Mayo

27th Nov 2013

On Sunday last, 24 November there was a mass stranding involving up to 13 common dolphins between Cartron and Blacksod on the Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo. It appears that a number of animals were able to refloat themselves from shallow water while others were refloated by local people. The group of dolphins included likely mother/calf pairs with at least three small calves present. One of the animals present had a deformed upper beak (see photo).

On the following day (25 November) a dead adult female was found at Elly Bay while a very small calf was still in the water nearby - the calf was not seen later but its size suggested that it was still dependent on milk from its mother and would not survive. Later that day another adult female and calf stranded in very poor condition and were euthanized. Today (26 November), two more adult females and a male calf were found dead on the beach, a further two adults and one calf which had stranded were refloated but stranded again tonight.

Fergus Sweeney is a cameraman based in Belmullet shot some footage of this stranding.

Watch the video at this link   www.youtube.com/embed/80bnp1aBY7c

For some reason(s), live strandings are relatively frequent in this area. IWDG records show 34 reports of live strandings from Co. Mayo and 17 of these have been from around the Mullet Peninsula. Common dolphins or striped dolphins are the two species which are most frequently recorded and many of the strandings involve more than one animal.