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Dusty The Dolphin Makes Herself At Home Near Inis Oírr

14th July 2014
Dusty The Dolphin Makes Herself At Home Near Inis Oírr

#MarineWildlife - Dusty the dolphin has found a new home at Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands, prompting a local campaign to warn locals and visitors alike of the potential dangers of swimming with the unpredictable cetacean.

Previously known as a gregarious bottlenose dolphin with "no fear of humans", according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) executive officer Dr Simon Berrow, Dusty - also sometimes called Sandy - was the subject of controversy last summer after a series of incidents in which she 'attacked' swimmers in her previous home turf of Doolin Harbour in Co Clare.

In recent months, however, she has relocated across Galway Bay ahead of planned blasting works at Doolin, and is now a regular attraction at Inis Oírr's popular sandy beach.

Amid concerns that bathers at the beach may be injured in encounters with Dusty, the IWDG attended a local meeting on the island to determine the best course of action.

"The island welcomes all visitors, including Sandy, but does not want any harm to come to anybody," says Dr Berrow.

In other news, the IWDG's research vessel Celtic Mist has embarked on a two-week survey of bottlenose dolphin off the North West between Donegal and Galway.

The waters of this region "are very important habitats for this highly mobile coastal population," says the IWDG, noting that it "uses all Irish coastal waters from the west east, south and north coasts, including Northern Ireland.

"It is likely that this highly mobile population is actually quite small with maybe just a few hundred individuals. It is essential to understand this population, its habitat use, movements and population dynamics."

The IWDG has 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!

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