Pilot whale live strands in the Shannon estuary

30th Jun 2004 A pilot whale live stranded on 29 June in Poulnasherry Bay. Despite the best efforts of local IWDG members, it was found dead this morning (30 June) near Moyasta, Co Clare.

Winkle-pickers in Poulnasherry Bay near Kilrush, County Clare reported a large shark washed up and alive at around 10:00 on Tuesday 29 June.

on Poulnasherry beachTwo local mariners who found the whale kept it cool and upright. Local IWDG member Paul Edson, who is trained in live stranding technique, also located the whale which was stranded in a remote part of the west shore to provide assistance. The local RNLI provided safety cover but could not enter the shallow bay.

on Poulnasherry beachAs the tide rose the whale refloated itself but was obviously distressed as it was swimming slowly on one side and a green discharge from the genital region was noted. A RIB from the Naval Reserves was deployed from Kilrush with local IWDG member and naval reserve, Brian Honan, and local NPW ranger Brian Duffy onboard. They attemped to guide the whale out of the bay into the deeper water of the Shannon estuary but although they found deeper water they could not get the whale to exit the bay.

At 9pm that evening, Brian Duffy found the whale alive but stranded on the east shore of Poulnasherry Bay and it was decided to leave the whale to its fate. This morning (30 June) it was found dead. The whale, a female, measured 5.5m and was thin but not immaciated. A bloody discharge from the genitals was apparent which might be linked to its cause of death.

The IWDG would like to thank all those involved in this stranding: the RNLI, Naval Reserves and local vet Nicki Harvey for being available when contacted.

Simon Berrow