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'Swing in Activity' in Illegal Seal Killings Says Dingle Sanctuary

19th June 2012
'Swing in Activity' in Illegal Seal Killings Says Dingle Sanctuary

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The recent horrific reports of seal killings are but part of a "swing in activity" over the past few months, as reports.

Gardaí continue to investigate the shocking incident in Dingle two weeks ago, where the heads of two baby seals were found nailed to signs outside a wildlife sanctuary - an act condemned by fishermen in spite of their support for a cull of seals along the West coast.

Just days later, a husband and wife kayaking at Knockadoon head in East Cork were "sickened to the core" by the sight of two seals who had been shot.

And last week the Dingle Seal and Wildlife Sanctuary received calls of two separate seal deaths around the coast, one reporting a headless seal discovered at Whiting Bay in Waterford.

The incidents follow fears from earier this year of an illegal cull of marine wildlife after a two seals were found dying from bullet wounds on Tramore Beach in Co Waterford.

“There has been a swing in activity in recent months,” said Johnny Woodlock of the Dingle Seal Sanctuary, who added that many of the seals found dead "have apparent gun shot wounds" though it is difficult to determine the cause of death without an autopsy.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) says it has not recorded any increase in illegal seal killings off Cork or Kerry. But Woodlock claims this is because "there is nobody keeping records of dead seals washing up on beaches".

An NPWS survey of coastal seal numbers is ongoing, and exact figures have yet to be published. has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!