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Sad news as rare whale spotted in Wicklow Harbour has passed away

By Sarah Finnan

July 5, 2020 at 10:10am

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Sad news for locals as the whale that was spotted in Wicklow Harbour yesterday sadly didn't make it through the night.

An unexpected visitor made an appearance in Co Wicklow yesterday when passersby noticed a whale swimming around the harbour. Identified as being a male Sowerby's beaked whale, members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) were concerned by the sighting - warning that the animal didn't look to be in good condition.

Described as a "deep-diving offshore species", Sowerby's beaked whales are usually found in deep waters where they can reach depths of up to 1,500m. Particularly susceptible to acoustic trauma, the animal seemed to be quite distressed and experts didn't believe he would make it through the night.

Stranded near the local sailing club, footage captured of the animal showed him to be quite disorientated and having difficulty moving. A post on the IWDG Facebook page reads:

"Sadly the male Sowerby's beaked whale observed in Wicklow harbour this afternoon has died. From the outset it appeared to be in ill health, appearing disorientated and having difficulty moving. Therefore, it would not have been a candidate for re-floating. Euthanasia is also extremely difficult in these circumstances due to the large size of the animal as well as public safety concerns."

Working together with local volunteers and members of the Wicklow Sailing Club, Alpha Marine services and members of the public, the group managed to safely remove the animal's from the body. According to the IWDG, the animal will be transported to one of the regional vet labs for a post-mortem which will hopefully give some insight into how the animal lived and died.

Header image via Twitter/Oceanic Rescue

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