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Displaying items by tag: Dolphins

#MarineWildlife - Writing in today's Irish Times, Michael Viney reminds that our friendly relations with dolphins are not always what they appear to be.

Indeed, he repeats the warnings of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's (IWDG) Dr Simon Berrow, who stresses that the "smile" on the face of a dolphin is most often misleading.

Recent experiences with the likes of Dusty and Clet on the West Coast prompted Dr Berrow, speaking at a conference in the Netherlands, to recommend a campaign to discourage swimming with wild cetaceans.

At best, such an initiative might avoid such terrible incidents as what happened to Valerie Ryan in Doolin last summer.

But it could also turn around what some experts believe to be a change in the nature of the sociable wild dolphin, one that might be the cause of injuries or even death among the species.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

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#MarineWildlife - 'Bad boy' dolphin visitor Clet may have struck up a beautiful friendship with a fellow 'dolphina-non-grata', according to the Galway Advertiser.

After being spotted earlier this month in Kerry coastal waters, Clet – the French cetacean interloper first seen in West Cork – was thought to be headed towards Fungie's usual haunt around Dingle.

But in recent days he's been spotted off Inis Oírr in the Aran Islands, frolicking with another recent resident of that island.

Sandy is perhaps better known to readers as Dusty, the Doolin dolphin that was the subject of much controversy last summer after a number of aggressive acts against swimmers, one of whom was hospitalised with serious injuries.

Over the summer it was recorded that she'd made a permanent move across Galway Bay to avoid blasting works in Doolin Harbour.

And now with Clet's arrival, it seems these two dolphins with bad reputations have made the perfect couple, with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group saying Clet has "hit it right off" with Sandy.

Still, the IWDG has reiterated its warning to swimmers and other water users to stay clear of the pair based on their track record.

In other cetacean news, the Irish Examiner reports on a rare sighting of killer whales off the south-west coast recently.

The seven-strong orca pod was spotted in the Atlantic near the Porcupine Seablight by researchers on the IWDG's Cetaceans of the Frontier Survey cruise on board the RV Celtic Explorer. has images of the killer whales, which are common to North Atlantic waters but rarely trouble Irish shores; the last significant sighting here was a different orca family in Lough Swilly visiting from Scotland, and believed to be on the 'brink of extinction'.

Elsewhere, BBC News has footage of a large dolphin pod swimming close to the shore in Portrush on the North Coast, in what's described as a "very unusual" occurrence.

And here's a link to last night's RTE television programme on basking sharks.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - Local fishermen came to the aid of what reports describe as as many as 70 dolphins who got themselves stuck in the shallows at a beach in Co Kerry.

According to, the three fishermen – Edward Moore, Declan Kennedy and Maurice Lynch - spotted the large dolphin pod in Smerwick Harbour at they set out to sea at first light yesterday morning (9 September).

The three decided to abandon their day's catch to help rescue a number of juvenile dolphins and their mothers from the beach at Beal Ban.

They were joined in their efforts by Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium director Kevin Flannery, together spending a number of hours herding the dolphins to the safety of deeper water.

Flannery told that he suspects the juveniles beached while chasing mackerel, and their calls for help led to the adult dolphins in the pod themselves getting into difficulty in the shallows.

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#MarineWildlife - The dolphins are at it again! After the recent spectacular superpod that put on a show in Baltimore, artist Vincent Hyland captured this footage of common dolphins in a feeding frenzy with a flock of gannets near Kenmare, Co Kerry.

It's certainly shaping up to be a summer to remember for dolphin watchers in the south-west if this video's anything to go by!

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#MarineWildlife - A tip of the hat to @BestBaltimore on Twitter for this video of a dolphin 'superpod' that congregated outside Baltimore Harbour in West Cork yesterday (Thursday 15 May).

Such superpods can comprise as many as 1,000 or more dolphins - so the vast numbers seen here breaching the surface may only have been a fraction of a much larger group.

Early last year researchers captured video of a superpod hundreds of dolphins strong in the Irish Sea, with one describing the scene as "boiling" with the gregarious marine mammals.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Dolphins - Two Irish boys have had the encounter of a lifetime after getting up close with Florida's famous tail-less dolphin Winter.

As the Tampa Bay Times reports, the formerly conjoined four-year-old twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf travelled to Clearwater to meet the celebrated cetacean, who was the subject of the 2011 movie Dolphin Tale.

The twins are considered "medical miracles" for the extremely low odds of surviving their difficult separation, after they were born joined from the hip to the pelvis and sharing a liver, stomach and bladder.

But for them, getting to meet Winter - who swims with a prosthetic tail after surviving a crab trap - was even more special.

And it was made possible via another Irish connection, Kevin Carroll of the Hanger Clinic - which developed both Winter's and the twins' prosthetic limbs.

The Tampa Bay Times has more on the story HERE.

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#Dolphins - It was a happy Easter for one young dolphin that was rescued from stranding on Achill Island by some quick-thinking coastguard volunteers.

As reports, the juvenile dolphin was one of two reported stranded on Keem Beach early on Sunday morning.

On arrival at the scene, the local Irish Coast Guard team found one of the two had died, but officer-in-charge Colin Honeyman leapt into action to save the remaining youngster.

Taking to the sea in his wetsuit, and with some help from a nearby fishing boat, he swam with the dolphin under his arm out to deeper water, where "he seemed to get a new lease of life and just swam off - he really went for it." has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Dusty - Renewed warnings have been made to the public to keep a wide berth from Doolin's dolphin Dusty as the Irish Examiner reports she's "more jumpy" than usual.

Last summer the female bottlenose earned a degree of infamy after attacking a number of bathers in the Co Clare town, one of whom suffered eight spinal fractures, two broken ribs and lung damage in their altercation.

As we get closer to this year's summer, it may be tempting to join Dusty in the water for typical dolphin frolics, but Vanessa Fagan-Vanhorn of Dolphin Day Ireland strongly advises against it.

“[Disty] is definitely more jumpy and easier to startle than she used to be," she says. "The incidents of last summer do seem to have had an effect and her behaviour has changed."

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Dolphins - Marine photographer Myles Carroll snapped some beautiful shots of a dolphin pup frolicking in the waves off Hook Head last weekend, as reports.

The baby was just one of a near 40-strong dolphin pod sighted off the Wexford coast in recent days, just in time for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's latest cetacean spotting trip this weekend on board the Celtic Mist.

For details contact the IWDG at [email protected]

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#MarineWildlife - The dolphin death toll on America's Atlantic coast caused by a measels-like virus now exceeds 1,000 - and marine scientists have warned the Guardian that the epidemic shows now signs of slowing down.

As reported in August on, more than 300 deaths of bottlenose dolphins found between New York and North Carolina - more than 10 times the average for the time of year - were connected with the presence of morbillivirus.

Researchers speculate that the marine mammals have somehow lost their natural immunity to the disease, which first appeared in the late 1980s when it killed a known 740 cetaceans - but factors due to climate change have also not been ruled out.

The previous outbreak of morbillivirus wiped out half of all of the Eastern Seaboard's coastal migratory dolphins, whose population currently stands at more than 39,000 thanks to conservation efforts since that last epidemic.

It's not believed there is any connection between the morbillivirus resurgence on the far side of the Atlantic and the continued rise in dolphin strandings around Ireland.

However, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has identified a different threat to Irish cetaceans, calling for a ban on pelagic fishing within Special Areas of Conservation in West Cork and the Shannon Estuary in order to preserve a key food source for local dolphins and porpoise.

"The removal of herring and sprat could have a significant impact on [cetaceans'] foraging efficiency and hence on the life histories of harbour porpoise and bottlenose dolphins, especially their reproductive fitness," says the IWDG's Dr Simon Berrow.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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