Two mass strandings of common dolphins on the west coast

7th May 2003 Two mass strandings of common dolphins on the west coast

The second mass stranding of common dolphins in four days occurred this morning (7th May) on Ventry beach, Co Kerry. According to Kevin Flannery, local IWDG contact, three dolphins live- stranded with one having already died. Local vet Eileen Harrington, who recently attended the IWDG Live Stranding Course, is hopefully on her way to the beach to assess there condition.

On Sunday morning May 4th, another three common dolphins were reported live-stranded by an Australian tourist in Kilronan on Inishmor, Aran Islands. Local doctor and IWDG member Marion Broderick and her son Ronan were soon called and one animal was refloated, the other two having died. This dolphin was refloated many times during the day suggesting its prognosis was poor. 24 hours after it originally stranded it was watched outside Marion and Ronan's house until it eventually disappeared. Whether it swam away or restranded on some other part of the island is not known but a search is being carried out to clarify this.

Common dolphins are the 2nd most frequently stranded cetacean species on the Irish coast (harbour porpoise being the most frequently stranded) and this species along with striped dolphins and pilot whales account for 50% of all live stranding events in Ireland.

The IWDG have recently obtained three years funding from Duchas, Heritage Council, Marine Institute and Environmental and Heritage Service in Northern Ireland to expand the cetacean stranding and sighting scheme.

The dead dolphins have been recovered by UCC for post-mortem examination to determine cause of death. EU funding for this important work has ended but there are hopes that Duchas will fund the post-mortem work in the near future.