Cuviers beaked whale live- stranded in Co Kerry

27th Jun 2014

A whale or "large dolphin" was reported to the IWDG live stranded in Ballyheigue, Co Kerry by the Irish Coastguard on the evening of Monday 23 June. It was refloated by local members of the Coastguard but re-stranded later that night and died.

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Cuvier's beaked whale, Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry 23 June 2014, Simon Berrow/IWDGA team from the IWDG met at Ballyheigue at low water on the Tuesday afternoon and carried out a post-mortem examination. It was confirmed to be a male Cuviers beaked whale measuring 5.75 mt. It had the external parasite Penella on its tail and rabbit eared goose barnacles on both of its teeth. Apart from these, externally it was in good condition. There were also no internal lesions that could have contributed to its death, although it was noted its liver looked in poor condition. Samples were taken for toxicology and genetics. Its stomach, intestines and  testes were removed for analyses.  Its head was also removed to recover the skull.     

Although there are quite a few records of stranded Cuviers beaked whales in Ireland, live-stranded animals are extremely rare and this was a rare opportunity to examine such a fresh specimen of this species.

Many thanks to the local Coastguard unit and those who rapidly reported the stranding to IWDG.