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Marine Wildlife
The cost of removing 33 whales which washed ashore on Rutland Island, Co. Donegal in mid-November is to cost Donegal County Council €10,000, according to a report posted last week in the Donegal Democrat. The pod, which had been observed…
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports that a newborn bottlenose dolphin calf was washed up in Doolin, Co Clare last week (photos here). http://www.iwdg.ie/article.asp?id=2426 Measuring 1.2m in length and weighing 21kg, the IWDG said it was "by far…
Last week saw the Irish Seal Sanctuary celebrate the release of Debbie, the first grey seal to receive care at the group's Courtown Harbour facility. Photos of the release in Tramore are available HERE at the Irish Seal Sanctuary's website.…
Rescuers were sadly unable to save an 18ft juvenile minke whale found stranded at Blackwater Pier, near Kenmare, Co Kerry last Friday. The Irish Independent reports that despite the best efforts of local people and the National Parks and Wildlife…
New figures to be released this week point to a whopping 25% increase in whale and dolphin strandings in the UK and Ireland. BBC News reports that data collected by the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) show reported strandings…
A new pontoon intended to refloat beached whales and dolphins along the Atlantic seaboard was demonstrated at the weekend ahead of the Galway Science & Technology Festival. The Irish Times reports that divers, scientists and local volunteers were among those…
Ireland is Home to a Basking Shark Population
Writing in the Irish Times regarding marine animals Lorna Siggins says Irish waters many be home to a large proportion of the world's basking shark population following a conference in Galway that says thousands of the species frequent this coastline.…
Poots Appeals Over Latest NI Seal Deaths
NI environment minister Edwin Poots has appealed to the public for information on marine animals following the suspicious deaths of five seals in Strangford Lough last week. The grim discovery comes only weeks after a wave of fatal corkscrew-like injuries…
Sonar Possible Culprit in Whale Death Tragedy
Sonar activity by Royal Navy submarines may have caused the deaths of up to 35 pilot whales off the coast of Co Donegal at the weekend, an expert has claimed. Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group…
Post Mortem on Mass Pilot Whale Strandings Cancelled Due to Bad Weather
Plans to carry out a post-mortem examinations on thirty-five Pilot whales found dead on a beach in Co Donegal yesterday have been cancelled due to bad weather according to Dr. Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). Up…
European Shark Experts Gather in Galway
International experts on sharks, skates and rays will meet at the Marine Institute in Galway for the 14th Annual European Elasmobranch* Association Conference from 10th-13th November 2010. The waters around Ireland are home to a rich diversity of sharks, skates…
'Propellers' To Blame for NI, Scotland Seal Deaths
Scientists believe that a recent wave of fatal corkscrew-like injuries to seals discovered in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the result of contact with boat propellers. Original speculation on the ususual injuries pointed the blame at sharks. But Dr David…
NI Aquarium Hosts Seal Week
The Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry, Co Down will host its Seal Week from 6-14 November. The week will feature fun seal-themed events for children and families, including daily seal feedings, as well as talks from the  knowledgeable staff who care…
Watch Out For Tagged Seals
The Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) has put out a call for observers to look out for tagged seals. Following the news that a seal pup rescued and tagged by the ISS was discovered in Wales, the sanctuary is looking to…
Minke Whales in Big Numbers Off Southwest Coast
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has recorded two surprisingly large aggregations of minke whales off the southwest coast. The group reports that regular observer Nick Massett counted a group of eight minke whales off Slea Head in Co…
Irish Seal Sanctuary Receives Surprise Donation
A young supporter of the Irish Seal Sanctuary (ISS) has donated €450 to help the seals she visits regularly. Staff at the sanctuary in Courtown, Co Wexford were amazed when 13-year-old Sarah Butler donated her personal savings towards the care…

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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