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WATCH: Rare drone footage captured of world's second-largest whale species in Irish waters

By Sarah Finnan

August 15, 2020 at 8:11am

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The fin whale is the second-largest mammal in the world, reaching up to 65 feet and coming in just behind the blue whale.

A fin whale was spotted off the coast of Cork last week. The second-largest mammal on planet earth, they're also the largest whale species to have been spotted in inshore Irish waters.

Video footage captured by Emer Keaveney, a mammal ecologist with Ocean Research & Conservation Ireland (ORC Ireland), shows the mammal enjoying the sunshine and frolicking in the calm Cork waters.

Described by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) as "an extremely large and streamlined whale", they are characterised by their pointed heads, proportionate pectoral fins and tall but curved dorsal fin. According to the IWDG website, over 60 individual fin whales have been photo identified in Irish waters to date - mostly along the South coast.

A post shared by ORC Ireland said that this is only the second time that this species has been captured with aerial footage in Irish waters.

Known to come to Irish waters to feed, fin whales are actually quite common around the coast however spotting them is tricky as they usually stay offshore.

Speaking to RTÉ News, sightings officer for ORC Ireland, Caoimhe Tweedy, commented:

"Seeing stuff from shore is quite difficult, you need binoculars and you need time. It’s possible to see them from land, but you need a very clear day, binoculars, a good spot and mainly the weather has to cooperate."

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