Spate of live strandings on west coast

10th Aug 2010 IWDG have received reports of five live stranding incidents along the west coast between 23 July and 9 August. There was a further report of a stranded striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba from the Shannon Estuary Co. Clare on 9 August which, although dead when found, may also have live stranded.

Of the confirmed live strandings, the first of the recent spate was a common dolphin Delphinus delphis in Ventry, Co. Kerry on 23 July. Attempts were made to refloat this animal and on the following day it was seen swimming strongly in the bay. On 29 July a common dolphin was reported live stranded at Killala, Co. Mayo. This animal died on the beach.

On 5 August, a Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus live stranded at Elly Bay on the Mullet Peninsula in Co. Mayo. It was refloated but restranded later that day at Doolough and died on the following day.

Early on 8 August, five common dolphins were discovered live stranded on Rossnowlagh Beach in Co. Donegal. Two of these were refloated but the three others died on the beach and were removed to GMIT for post mortem examination.

On the following morning, 9 August, a common dolphin was found stranded - once again in Killala Bay, Co. Mayo. After consultation with the IWDG, a decision was made to attempt a re-float (based on the animal appearing healthy and probably being part of the Rossknowlagh mass stranding of the previous day. Local people managed to lift the animal on a tarpaulin and it was transported to deeper water near Lacken where it was refloated.

As is often the case, we can only speculate as to the cause(s) of these various live strandings.

IWDG would like to sincerely thank all those people who helped in any way with these strandings either on the beach or by sending us information and photos.

Mick O'Connell

IWDG Strandings Co-ordinator

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