Sperm Whale Calf found dead in Quilty, Co. Clare

5th May 2004 A sperm whale calf which live-stranded on Spanish Point, Co. Clare on 4th May was found dead in Quilty on the following afternoon.

Yesterday a call was received by Tomsie O' Sullivan of Lahinch Coastguard and relayed by Ciaran Meehan to Dr. Simon Berrow of the IWDG at around 6pm that the whale was very near to the shore at Spanish point.

Jawbone showing unerupted teeth

Local youths reported that the juvenile sperm whale had been accompanied by a larger whale earlier in the day.

An alert was put through to Valentia and Lahinch and Doolin Coastguard personnel responded along with IWDG personnel, the local fire brigade, Clare County Council and local vet John Underhill. The local NPWS ranger, Brian Duffy, was also informed.

Many of those at the scene had attended a live stranding course organised by the IWDG at Ballybunion and so were familiar with the task that lay ahead.

The IWDG rescue pontoons were made ready for use but in the end the whale managed to make its own way back to deeper water.

By 8pm Dr. Simon Berrow reported that the whale had returned to deeper water, but was not necessarily out of danger. The prognosis for a calf whose length was just over 5m, and was likely to be still weaning was not a good one. Cetacean calves stand little chance of survival if they become isolated from their mothers.

Indeed despite the best efforts of all involved the calf, a male measuring 5.8m, was found dead this afternoon.