Record 93 dolphin and whale deaths are reported

Photo Illustration

Mystery surrounds the worst spate of dolphin and whale strandings on record in Ireland.

There have been 93 dead dolphins, whales and porpoises washed up along the coast in the first two months of the year – the highest number ever recorded in that time period.

Four were successfully refloated after efforts from volunteers but 89 died.

Last year, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group received 70 reports of the animals washing up dead in the winter months, which was unprecedented, but it was surpassed this year with 93 strandings.

Common dolphins are the most frequent species found making up more than two-thirds of the carcasses this year.

In a number of cases, people who found dolphin carcasses were convinced they had found the remains of much-loved Dingle dolphin Fungie, but none of the animals turned out to be the famous bottlenose dolphin with distinctive markings.

Just under one in 10 had obvious signs of being caught in nets, three had tails cut off, three had broken jaws, and one was caught in a net.

Stephanie Levesque, stranding officer with the IWDG, believes the pandemic has meant more people are out walking their local shores and this could be playing a role in the increased reports.

The strandings are concentrated mainly among the west and south-west coasts.

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