12 November 2018

Live Dolphin Stranding at Reen…

Shortly after 9.45 this morning Nic Slocum of Whale Watch West Cork received a call from Ann Shaw to report what she thought was a young dolphin swimming in circles over the mud flats to the north of the spit in Castlehaven harbour known as The League. Responding immediately we arrived to find what appeared to be a adolescent bottlenose dolphin, although still afloat, clearly in danger of live stranding…which it did quickly.

Withing 25 minutes we were able to walk out in knee deep mud and get our lifting sling underneath the stricken animal. With the help of young dolphin watchers Joshua, Toby and Charlotte Slocum, Chris Watkins, Wendy and myself were able to lift what was a 5.5ft long young bottlenose dolphin across The League and refloat this young animal in deeper water on the seaward side of the spit.

Last seen heading towards the open sea we are hopeful this young animal will not restrand. We stayed monitoring the situation for over an hour in which time we did not resight this dolphin. After careful evaluation we determined that this animal, apart for a few minor abrasions associated with stranding, appeared in reasonable health and showed no signs of malnutrition.

We will continue to monitor the area for the next two days in case it restrands.

Many thanks to Ann and Chris for all their help.


Mass Balloon Releases Must Stop…

Mass baloon releases a problem I hear you say…

Yes, latex balloons have long been considered a wildlife hazard but in particular they are a threat to marine wildlife, expecially mammals like dolphins and reptiles like turtles which mistake this floating garbage for food.

It is claimed that latex balloons that rise to around 5,000 feet finally shatter into small pieces that present little threat to wildlife. However, those that fail to rise and find their way earth are carried via water courses down to the sea where they are often mistaken for living prey and find their way into the gut of marine creatures causing blockage and death.

A less obvious problem comes from the hideous, virtually unbreakable string so often used to tether balloons. This has been associated with death in birds and smaller mammals by getting wrapped around their necks or legs.

Not unsurprisingly, the balloon industry and others with vested interest claim that mass balloon releases can’t possibly be a hazard to wildlife and that mass releases should not be curtailed. Didn’t really expect them to say anything else did you?

Click on the title link for more information.


A Resumption of Commercial Whaling?

I have heard it all now…

The International Whaling Commission meet next week to discuss a potential deal whereby Japan, Norway and Iceland will be rewarded for consistently breaking international agreements and conducting commercial whaling for profit when a moratorium on commercial whaling is in place.

The deal is that Japan will be allowed commercial whaling rights in their coastal waters in return for, wait for it, a voluntary reduction in the number of minke and fin whales killed in the southern ocean whale sanctuary each year during their Antarctic whaling campaign…yes, a “voluntary” reduction.

The EU, predominantly anti whaling, is said to be considering a view which may permit this to be passed. If this cosy little deal is sanctioned then the “bully boy” tactics will have succeeded and the minority view will have it’s way over the interests of around 70% of the EU population.

Any form of sell out by the EU communities at this stage would be disastrous for whales but also for the whole marine conservation movement going forward.

If you would like to read more and have your say with the EU then click on the title link.


Another Mass Stranding off Tasmania…

Another mass stranding of pilot whales and some dolphin species has occured on an island between Tasmania and the Australian mainland – an area notorious for mass whale stranding. Nearly 200 animals came ashore late Sunday night and around 140 of these have already died. There is some hope that some members of the group may be refloated and survive… so says a representative of the Tasmanian Wildlife Service.

This stranding event has taken the number of animals that have mass stranded in this part of the world to nearly 400 – just this year. This includes a group of over 40 sperm whales earlier this year all of which died.

The exact cause of these events is poorly understood but some have suggested that this particular area disrupts the animals ability to navigate effectively.

For more details click on the title.