Following the discovery of five beaked whales in a single day at the start of August, the IWDG says a minimum of 16 — a new Irish record — were recorded along the North West coast from Galway to Donegal between 3 and 22 August.
“During the same period, at least 13 were found in Scotland and two in Iceland,” said IWDG strandings officer Mick O’Connell.
“Previous studies have suggested that only a small number of dead animals actually get washed ashore and recorded, so the number of dead animals may be significantly higher.”
While no cause of death has been established, due to the poor condition of the carcasses, it appears that the animals all died around the same time, which “makes causes such as disease, plastic ingestion etc seem unlikely as these would tend to be spread out over a longer time period and perhaps geographical range,” O’Connell said.
“The behaviour and distribution of this species makes large-scale fisheries interaction also seem unlikely.”
Sonar use has been suspected as a cause in previous similar strandings. “Mass strandings of beaked whales coincidental with naval exercises have been recorded in Greece, the Canaries and the Bahamas,” O’Connell said.
The Naval Service in Ireland does not use sonar on its vessels.
But in Dingle, she’s just another acquaintance for Fungie in his daily adventures.