Identity of porpoise killers known to IWDG

24th Jan 2017

On Jan 16th 2017 there was quite remarkable footage (below) and stills taken from Cork Harbour mouth which showed a pair of bottlenose dolphins attacking and presumably killing a harbour porpoise. These incidents are likely to be relatively common, but getting such compelling evidence is not. The event was documented and reported to IWDG by Tadgh O' Caoimh (image left). Analyses of the footage by IWDG Photo ID officer, Isabel Baker, confirms that the dolphins involved in this incident are both known to the IWDG, with the larger individual being one of the original "semi- resident" group that was frequently recorded in the Cork Harbour mouth area over a period of at least 7 years between 2006-2013.

Isabel reported that "the adult dolphin with the well-marked fin is #BND190 which has been from the Irish Coastal Bottlenose Dolphin Catalogue, and has since been recorded in various other locations, including Waterford in 2013 and Co. Clare in 2015. The same pair were recently seen together in Dingle, Co. Kerry interacting with a more famous bottlenose dolphin "Fungie" on 18th October 2016. The younger of the pair with the dorsal fin rake marks is a juvenile, only weaned in 2014, which makes it likely to be less than 10 years old. So a really interesting pair of individuals!

Big thanks to Tadgh O' Caoimh and indeed everyone else for reporting cetacean activity to IWDG. It's wonderful to be able to add value to your observations by interpreting these events more fully.

 

By Pádraig Whooley, IWDG Sightings Officer and

Isabel Baker, IWDG Photo ID Officer