Minke whale live stranding in south Kerry.....UPDATED

30th Nov 2010 Update 30/11/10

The whale was euthanased on Friday night (26 Nov) and due to concerns about the drugs used affecting other wildlife, the carcass was removed by Kerry Co. Co. for safe disposal. Live strandings of whale and dolphins are an emotive subject - it can be difficult to watch a live-stranded cetacean without feeling empathy for its suffering, and sometimes there seems like no "best" course of action.

In many cases a live-stranded cetacean is already sick or injured and unlikely to survive. It may, as in this case, be too big and in too 'wrong' a location to refloat. In these cases, trying to refloat the animal may console the humans present, but may cause further distress and extreme discomfort to the animal. Often, the best course of action may be to leave the animal alone and avoid stressing it even further than it already is.

Where euthanasia is considered, it needs to be done correctly by an experienced person. Someone who shoots injured deer for the local gardai is, as far as IWDG are concerned, not qualified to humanely shoot a small cetacean, let alone a whale. Likewise, where lethal injection is used, it needs to be done by a vet with experience of large animals and dosage rates and bearing in mind safe disposal of the carcass.

Every stranding has different circumstances and when asked for advice by NPWS or interested parties, we always endeavour to assist with the most up to date 'best practice' at our disposal.

Mick O'Connell,

IWDG Stranding Co-ordinator.

IWDG have received reports this morning of a c.18ft minke whale live stranded at Blackwater, between Sneem and Kenmare, Co. Kerry.

The animal is described as being in a distressed condition some 20 metres above the current water level. Initial reports suggested that it was a minke whale and we can now confirm this following receipt of this photo from Mary O'Neill which was forwarded by NPWS.

It is unlikely that a refloat of this whale will be attempted due to its size and location.

Mick O'Connell,

IWDG Stranding Co-ordinator.

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