Displaying items by tag: marine wildlife
The sanctuary recently took on its first sponsor in Gorey’s Amber Springs Hotel, which now has its name displayed over one of the 12 kennels available.
More than 60 seals are being kept at the Co Wexford centre that has a busy winter period taking in rescued seals and seal pups, the latest of them brought in from Clogherhead in Co Louth at the end of January.
But the Seal Rescue Centre is also celebrating successful releases back into the wild of seals it has treated — like Nala, an orphaned seal found in distress at Union Hall in West Cork last October, according to the Southern Star.
The scheme led by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) will see a network of buoys deployed with devices to pick up cetacean chatter – as well as potentially harmful ocean sounds from sea traffic or industry.
"Displacement from noise is a very real effect and ... if it doesn't cause them to move will change their behaviours and, at the most acute levels, can cause physical and physiological damage to the animals,” says Dr Adam Mellor of the AFBI.
BBC News has more on the story HERE.
#MarineWildlife - A whopping 71 species of shark can be found swimming in Irish waters.
That’s according to the new New Red List of Cartilaginous Fish, as reported by TheJournal.ie, which adds that half of all sharks in Europe can be found swimming around the Irish coast.
Eleven of these species are classified as either ‘endangered' ’critically endangered’, such as the porbeagle shark, the Portuguese dogfish and the basking shark — the second-largest fish in the oceans and a frequent visitor to Irish inshore waters.
And it also notes that outside of Ireland, where angling for such species is predominantly catch-and-release, recreational fishing poses a growing threat to cartilaginous fish like sharks, skates and rays.
TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.
The Atlas of Mammals in Ireland 2010-2015, published by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, maps the distribution of 77 mammal species both on the island and in its territorial waters.
Cetaceans account for almost a third of this number, among a whopping 68 species of whales and dolphins that frequent Irish waters.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s Dr Simon Berrow relates his long-term study of the Shannon Estuary’s thriving population of bottlenose dolphins in a book that celebrates an encouraging national habitat for species that struggle not so far from our shores.
Two of the three dolphins were still alive when found on Friday (13 January), though they were in “poor condition”, and one was later confirmed dead. The other was last seen in the area on Saturday and its current status is unconfirmed.
The news comes just days after two common dolphins were refloated after stranding in Tarbert, Co Kerry, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Locals in Ardmore discovered four seals and a porpoise washed up on their beach this past Wednesday (11 January).
At least one of the seals was photographed with what appeared to be fishing net entangled around its snout.
Seals and cetaceans including humpback whales have been spotted off the South Coast in big numbers this month, likely following shoals of herring — also a popular fish for pair trawling, a fishing practice criticised by environmentalists for its threat to inshore marine wildlife.
Pair trawling was the subject of a debate on RTÉ Radio 1’s Countrywide last month, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
IWDG volunteers found three dolphins at Tarbert on Sunday morning (8 January), one of which was already dead while the others were in shallow water, with one of them swimming into even lower waters upriver towards Tarbert village.
“We knew we had to come up with a plan as the area is surrounded with mudflats, and once the tide started to recede we would not be able to get access to or re-float the dolphin if it stranded again,” reported Joanne O’Brien.
That’s when Tarbert Rowing Club came to their aid with a small inflatable that allowed the volunteers to retrieve the bewildered dolphin and steer it in the right direction.
The IWDG has more on the story HERE.
South Coast Charter Angling skipper Martin Colfer was out with photographer Myles Carroll yesterday (Wednesday 4 January) when they caught a glimpse of the tail fin of the 13-metre-long marine mammal as it slinked back under the surface.
In other Irish whale news, The Times says work has begun on removing the famous diplodocus skeleton replica from London’s Natural History Museum to make way for a blue whale found in Wexford more than a century ago.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the whale specimen has been in the museum’s collection since it washed up at Wexford Harbour in 1891, and will now take pride of place in the central that Dippy previously called home since 1905.
Meanwhile, the world’s oldest killer whale is presumed dead after researchers lost track of her movements some months ago, according to the Guardian.
Believed to be 105 years old, ‘Granny’ was the matriarch of a small and endangered group of orcas in Puget Sound, north of Seattle in the north-west United States.
“With regret we now consider her deceased,” researcher Ken Balcomb, who has tracked Granny and her fellow orcas over four decades.
The genetically unique population bares comparison with the distinctive orca pod that splits its time between Ireland and Scotland, and which has faced its own challenges in recent years.
The call comes in the wake of new research by the Irish Whale Dolphin Group (IWDG) in tandem with the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation, which has identified the vast majority of bottlenose dolphins in North Kerry as members of the Shannon Estuary group that has enjoyed Marine Protected Area status since 2000.
“We knew dolphins had been regularly observed in Brandon Bay,” said the IWDG’s Dr Simon Berrow of the new research, “but did not know which population they belonged to and had no idea they were as abundant and frequent as this study has shown.”
Stephanie Levesque, senior author of the study, added that the research identified “very high numbers of Shannon dolphins present during the summer months in Brandon and Tralee Bays.
“If further surveys were to be carried out at various times of the year, including collecting behavioural data, it could help us to better understand how they are using these habitats.”
Elsewhere on the West Coast, Galway Bay FM reports on efforts in Connemara to form local groups in Oughterard and Letterfrack which are designated for the protection of pearl mussels.
#MarineWildlife - The RSPB has welcomed the announcement of new marine protected areas for Northern Ireland this week.
“The formal designation of four new marine protected areas will help protect a range of vulnerable species and habitats - ranging from black guillemots to ocean quahog and seagrass meadows,” the wildlife charity said in a statement.
Among the new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) announced by Storming is an area near Rathlin Island off Co Antrim that’s the first in the UK to be set aside for a seabird species, the amber-listed black guillemot.
The other new zones announced include seagrass meadows in Waterfoot, also in Co Antrim, and the fragile ecosystem for sea pens in Carlingford Lough.
According to The Irish News, these clams are thought to have been thriving in the waters near the city for over 200 years - and individual clams could live for hundreds more.
The Stormont announcement comes a year after the new zones were first proposed for public consultation, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.