Displaying items by tag: IWDG
“Killer whale sightings in any Irish waters are rare events, and they seem to be getting rarer,” said Pádraig Wholley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, whose member Nick Massett photographed the orcas in Dingle Bay on Monday 5 March.
Both are members of the genetically distinctive Scottish West Coast Community Group, which commonly feeds in the Hebridean Islands but has previously been found as far as Lough Swilly and Scotland’s east coast, likely in search of food.
“Colleagues from the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust can confirm that John Coe was seen exactly seven days [previously] in Scottish waters … which tells us a lot about the movements of this highly mobile apex predator,” said Wholley.
The Scottish West Coast Community Group has been feared to be on the ‘brink of extinction’ for many years. In January 2016 the pod lost a female member, Lulu, due to what was at first thought to be entanglement with fishing gear but was later blamed on PCB pollution.
Research assistants will be required to conduct monitoring surveys from dolphin-watching tour boats, spend a considerable amount of time on Shannon Estuary bottlenose dolphin photo identification and related office tasks, and assist in the management of the dolphin centre on a daily basis.
Photo ID training will be provided on the boats and in the office. There will also be the opportunity to help with research conducted on board the IWDG’s research vessels Muc Mhara and Celtic Mist, and to assist the IWDG with cetacean strandings should the opportunity arise.
These positions provide an excellent opportunity to develop skills in marine research and education and to assist with one of the longest-running bottlenose dolphin population monitoring programs in Europe.
There is no monetary compensation for these positions and a contribution of €400 per month towards accommodation and utilities is required.
Volunteers will be expected to work and live as part of a team with shared cooking and cleaning duties. Accommodation will be provided in a shared house within walking distance of the dolphin centre and town of Kilrush. Research assistants are responsible for their own food costs and travel expenses to and from Kilrush.
The closing date for applications is Friday 30 March. However, early application is recommended. Shortlisted candidates will be required to undertake a Skype interview in April. Successful applicants will be notified by mid-April.
#Lecture - The Friends of Glenua first 2018 lecture entilted ‘Whales & Dolphins in Ireland’ Current Knowledge & New Discoveries is to be presented by Dr. Simon Berrow, next Thursday 11 January.
As usual the lecture programme is held in the Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, Ringsend, Dublin 4 with the talk beginning at 20.00. There will be an entry €5 in aid of the RNLI.
Dr Simon Berrow was a founder member of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and is currently their Head of Science. He is also a full time lecturer at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, teaching on the Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology degree and runs the long-term Shannon Dolphin Study on Bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary.
Simon has worked on whales and dolphins since 1989, largely in Ireland, but is also involved in a humpback whale study in Cape Verde and spent 2.5 years on South Georgia with the British Antarctic Survey.
In his talk, Simon will introduce the rich community of whales, dolphins and porpoises in Ireland to the audience. He will share some the findings of new studies on whales and dolphins in Ireland from inshore to offshore waters, from coastal to deep-diving species. Also he will discuss what we need to find out in order to conserve these magnificent creatures.
Seal Rescue Ireland in Courtown, Co Wexford receives €12,000 for its efforts in rehabilitating seals and other marine wildlife, as well as providing training for rescuers across the country.
In other awards, Galway & Claddagh Swan Rescue in Barna has been allocated €5,000, while the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group receives €3,000, and the Oiled Wildlife Response Network, based at Shannon Foynes Port, will get €1,000.
“These bodies provide a great service to the community in their work in safeguarding animals,” said Minister Creed of the awards for 111 animal welfare groups.
“Many of today’s recipients provide facilities for neglected animals that sadly in a large number of instances have been abandoned by irresponsible owners, and the increased funding being awarded is evidence of my department’s ongoing commitment in protecting animal welfare and a recognition of the important role played by the many organisations throughout the country in safeguarding animals, particularly pet and companion animals.”
According to The Irish News, the seals named Hans and Albert had been with the sanctuary since the summer, when they arrived with various injuries.
However, by September both had put on weight and were eating by themselves, prompting Exploris staff to plan for their eventual release at Ballintoy Harbour last Wednesday (29 November).
In a techy twist, Hans and Albert have been microchipped so their progress can be monitored from shore over the next few weeks and months.
Also in the care of Exploris staff is a baby seal rescued from a rocky outcrop off Bangor in Belfast Lough in late October.
BBC News has video of the tiny white seal pup, which was suspected to have an injured hip and damaged flipper likely suffered during Storm Ophelia.
Another presumed victim of the stormy weather was a seal recovered from Dun Laoghaire’s East Pier on Hallowe’en.
The Irish Times reports that the marine mammal had sustained injuries to its face and rear flipper, but was said to be doing well in the care of volunteers from the Courtown Seal Rescue Centre in Co Wexford.
More recently, a number of stranded dolphins were successfully returned to the water off Achill Island by locals and volunteers on Tuesday 21 November.
Four common dolphins were reflected from Keem Beach, though a fifth was found dead on nearby rocks. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) removed the carcass to determine its cause of death, as the Mayo News reports.
Back on the North Coast, BelfastLive says a six-metre whale carcass surprised locals at Runkerry Strand near Portballintrae on 24 November.
The find came just weeks after a much larger fin whale carcass was found on Arranmore off the Donegal coast, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Though photo opportunities may be tempting, the public has been urged to stay away from the carcass for health and safety reasons.
Fin whales are sometimes spotted offshore, says Dave Wall of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), who added that this whale was likely dead for some time before its carcass beached.
It’s not known what causes the fin whale’s death. But marine debris — especially microbeads from bathroom products – is a growing threat to all whales, dolphins and porpoise in Irish waters, as the IWDG recently reported.
Citing a new study that found marine debris (such as plastic bags and fish hooks) in the digestive tracts of 8.5% of cetaceans examined, the IWDG highlights that micro-plastics were present in the guts of every animal in the study.
“While larger marine debris has been shown to cause impaction of the gut and other complications which can lead to death, the impact of micro-plastic contamination is not known,” says the group.
“It is thought it can act as a vehicle for persistent pollutants, which adhere to the large surface area resulting in a potential increase in contaminant burdens in marine mammals.”
The IWDG has more on the study HERE.
The first eight months of 2017 alone have seen 201 recorded strandings - up 30% compared to the same period in the last two years.
“As in recent years, the numbers of dead common dolphins recorded are very high, with 78 records for this species to the end of August 2017 accounting for 39% of all strandings,” says IWDG strandings officer Mick O’Connell, who notes that the numbers of dead dolphins washing ashore in late winter and spring has grown unusually high.
“Even in a series of years with particularly high numbers of this species stranding since 2011, 2017 is well ahead of the previous two ‘record’ years by the end of August — 66 in 2016 and 53 in 2013.
“These are, of course, minimum numbers as we don't know how many dead animals go unrecorded and also many unidentified dolphins which aren't identifiable to species level are likely to be common dolphins,” he adds.
The IWDG is currently working with the Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture and National Parks and Wildlife service on a post-mortem scheme for common dolphins, striped dolphins and harbour porpoises which is hoped will shed new light on what might be causing this alarming rise in cetacean deaths.
Meanwhile, there was more positive news from the recent all-Ireland whale watch at the end of August, where three-quarters of the 20 sites around the island recorded sightings.
Around 1,300 whale watchers and wildlife enthusiasts spotted eight species of cetacean between them — with the busiest site at Loop Head in Co Kerry, where 120 lucky visitors got to see two humpback whales, five minke whales, six bottlenose and a whopping 50 common dolphins.
Other marine wildlife species spotted around the coast included Risso’s dolphins, blue fin tuna, ocean sunfish and grey seals.
Join the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) at any of 20 land-based whale watches across Ireland to celebrate the 26th Anniversary of Irish waters being declared a sanctuary for whales and dolphins and find out about the 25 species of cetaceans – porpoises, dolphins and whales – recorded to date around the coast.
All watches are land-based and will be led by experienced IWDG researchers, enthusiasts and whale watchers who will show you how to observe and identify some of the more commonly-recorded cetacean species seen in Irish waters.
The event also provides IWDG researchers with a unique snapshot of whale and dolphin activity around the Irish coast on the same day.
Please bring binoculars or a spotting scope if you have them and dress appropriately for outdoor conditions. There are no boat trips involved and there is, of course, no guarantee that you will see whales or dolphins at your chosen site – but at last year’s event, whales or dolphins were recorded at 15 of 20 sites.
So if the weather is suitable on the day, you’ve quite a good chance of seeing some really interesting marine wildlife. And in the process, you’ll be supporting whale and dolphin conservation in Ireland.
The full list of watching locations, with watch leader contacts, is as follows:
- Clogherhead, Co Louth - Port Oriel Upper Car Park - Breffni Martin 087 9145363
- Howth Head, North Dublin - Balscadden Car Park - Conal O’Flanagan 086 3537900
- Killiney Bay, South Dublin - Vico Road - Isabel Baker 086 4057633
- Bray Head, Co Wicklow - Pitch & Putt Car Park - Justin Ivory 087 6833898
- Wicklow Town - Black Castle Car Park - Brian Glanville 087 1390665
- Hook Head, Co Wexford - Hook Head Lighthouse - Harm Deenen 086 3485013
- Ardmore Head, Co Waterford - Ram Head Signal Tower - Andrew Malcolm 087 7952061
- Galley Head, Co Cork - Lighthouse - Pádraig Whooley 086 3850568
- Lehanemore, Beara, Co Cork - Lehanemore Community Centre - Patrick Lyne 027 71930
- Valentia Island, Co Kerry - Bray Head Signal Tower - Sean O’Callaghan 085 7764918
- Clogher Head, Co Kerry - Layby - Nick Massett 087 6736341
- Loop Head, Co Clare - Loop Head Lighthouse - Simon Berrow 086 8545450
- Black Head, Co Clare - Black Head Lighthouse - Sandra O’Donovan 086 6061869
- Downpatrick Head, Co Mayo - Car Park - Aoife Foley 085 8276984
- Mullaghmore Head, Co Sligo - Mullaghmore Layby - Miriam Crowley 087 6171377
- Bloody Foreland, Co Donegal - Foreland Heights Car Park - Gareth Doherty 086 2223328
- Inishowen Head, Co Donegal - Tower - Trish Murphy 087 6748183)
- Portstewart Head, Co Derry - Car Park - Jim Allen 078 76516032
- Portmuck, Co Antrim - Car Park - Ian Enlander 028 93372724
- Bloody Bridge, Co Down - Car Park - Dave Wall 077 71762355
Local fisherman Pete Flannery landed what was the first giant squid recorded in Irish waters for 22 years in mid May, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
But amazingly, he had repeated the feat this month while trawling in the same area, on the Porcupine Bank west of Dingle.
Before this year, only five of the enormous cephalopods had been found in Irish waters since records began in 1673.
What’s more, two of those squid were landed by Flannery’s own father Michael back in 1995.
“I'll probably have to catch a third now so that I can have bragging rights,” Flannery told RTÉ News, which has more on the story HERE.
Elsewhere, a Galway man recorded video of a killer whale carcass washed up on the shore near Roundstone in Connemara.
Independent.ie reports that the orca sighting was confirmed by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, whose Mick O’Connell said the species is “neither common nor very rare [but] you wouldn’t see then very often.”
Ireland’s North Coast is a regular haunt for an “evolutionary significant” pod of killer whales that has been under threat for years due to its lack of young.
Minke whale numbers between Union Hall and Galley Head have been “exceptional” since last week, says Whooley — who also notes that a pod of humpbacks familiar to West Kerry coastal residents has been feeding off Cork over the past fortnight, while the whale known as Boomerang has been spotted off Waterford.
Elsewhere, the Air Corps Maritime Squadron recently captured some astonishing images of sharks feeding on a whale carcass some 200km northwest of Donegal.
“It's not often that we get sent such clear images of a dead cetacean being scavenged on by several sharks,” said IWDG standings officer Mick O'Connell, “but it does give an indication of the importance of dead animals in the food chain.”