Displaying items by tag: marine wildlife
Seven dead seals washed up in Donegal are believed to have died of natural causes - but concerns over a pattern of seal deaths nationwide remain.
As the Donegal Democrat reports, the seven grey seals - which are a protected species - were found beached along with a dead dolphin in the Rosberg area.
A ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service confirmed that none of the marine animals had been shot.
But Pauline Beades of the Irish Seal Sanctuary said the find was just one in a series of reports of "strange" seal deaths around the country.
“You don’t find three, four, five animals dead on a beach," she said. "I would be very concerned that this is not a normal occurrence.”
It is not yet known if a post-mortem will be carried out in the dead seals, but members of the public are encouraged to report any similar finds as the thocine distemper virus has been responsible for seal deaths in the past.
Beades said that grey seals are now having their young, and asked the public to keep an eye out for seal pups and report anything that looks suspicious in the area.
The Donegal Democrat has more on the story HERE.
A UK-based manufactuer of pesticides has developed a so-called 'toxic malteser' to help tackle the scourge of invasive zebra mussels.
The razor-edged mussels have no natural predators in UK and Irish waters so spread rapidly and wreak havoc on water treatment plants and other industrial facilities, from oil rigs to ship hulls, fish farms and power stations.
But Cambridge firm Biobullets claims its pellet-sized toxin - which is deadly to zebra mussels but harmless to other marine wildlife - is the solution to the problem.
Aside from their own environmental benefits, the pellets also help avoid the old method of removing mussels by dousing them in chlorine, which is toxic in high doses.
Ireland’s unexplored 220-million-acre marine environment will be revealed in a landmark new TV series which began last week.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Farraigí na hÉireann (Seas of Ireland) is a new six-part Irish-language series on Ireland's marine wildlife, which aired its first episode on TG4 last Tuesday 20 September.
Irish Film and Television News interviewed series co-creator Ken O'Sullivan about the unique series, which is the first of its kind in Ireland in unlocking the secrets of the abundant wildlife in the seas around our coast.
“We tried to combine coastal heritage with wildlife,” said O'Sullivan on the intentions behind the series. “We want to show how ancient coastal communities connected with wildlife.
"As filmmakers, our approach is that we try not to use science as the beginning and end of the story. We like to look at people’s connection with these natural worlds.”
As such, the series does not have a presenter, but its story is told through its contributors.
“We have passionate marine biologists and we have small fishermen, from places like the Aran Islands and Kerry, reflecting about their time at sea and how they relate to the sea, to try and convey the story.
"Hopefully, all these contributors bring a narrative to the unique underwater photography.”
And it's this underwater imagery that's surely the star of the show. As much as 70% of the series was filmed under the surface over the course of a year in locations around the country, using cameras in a special water-tight housing.
Deep water footage was also captured by high-definition cameras on an unmanned submarine, giving us the best ever view of life in the depths.
Farraigí na hÉireann can be seen Tuesdays at 8pm on TG4, with repeats on Sundays at 9pm.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is offering a limited number of places to non-members on its two upcoming autumn/winter whale-watching weekends in Co Cork.
The weekends, based at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery, are geared towards sightings of larger marine wildlife – specifically fin and humpback whales, which are commonly sighted in West Cork between October and December.
Two weekends are scheduled, on 28-30 Octover and 25-27 November, and both will include presentations as well as plenty of whale-watching opportunities on land and at sea.
The IWDG has also negotiated a special weekend rate of €120 at the Celtic Ross Hotel which includes two nights' B&B, an evening meal and a packed lunch.
The weekends are being booked in succession, both limited to 12 bookings, with seven places currently remaining for the first weekend. The IWDG warns that the trips are not suited to anyone in poor health or prone to sea-sickness, and that as always whale spottings cannot be guaranteed.
Anyone interested in attending or wishing to enquire further can contact Pádraig Whooley at [email protected] or 023 8838761, or write to the IWDG, Dereen, Rossmore, Clonakilty, Co Cork.
Birdwatchers in Northern Ireland will want to be at the Mount Stewart lookout on 2 October for a special 'bird's eye view' of the return of thousands of Brent geese from colder climes.
The News Letter reports that the free event from 2-4pm at the entrance to Mount Stewart on Strangford Lough will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the geese - arriving after epic journeys from as far away as the Canadian Arctic - and the work done by the National Trust to protect the waders and wildfowl that make Northern Ireland their home for the winter.
As much as 75 per cent of the world population of light-bellied Brent geese spend the winter months at Strangford Lough, which is recognised as a Ramsar site - a designation given to wetlands of international importance.
For more details on the special birdwatching event, contact Hugh Thurgate at +44 7900 678411.
Time may be running out for Scotland's only resident pod of killer whales, the Scotsman reports.
The four males and five females have been studied at their home in the west of Scotland by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group for almost 20 years.
The marine mammals have been sighted at various times since 1981 by members of the public in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
But since 1992 the group - known as the West Coast Community - has failed to produce a single surviving calf.
Marine biologist Dr Andy Foote said: "It's probably too late to save this group. I do believe that they will become extinct in our lifetime which is very regrettable since not many people even know that such a distinctive group of killer whales exist just off our coast."
Dr Foote believes possible contaminants in the waters off Scotland's west coast could be one reason why the pod is not successfully breeding.
The Scotsman has more on the story HERE.
An exciting new six-part T.V. marine wildlife series 'Farraigí na hÉireann' (Seas of Ireland), the first to be dedicated entirely within our shores and also produced at home is to be broadcast by TG4 next Tuesday (20th Sept) at 8pm.
'Farraigí na hÉireann' explores the fascinating journey through the beautiful underwater world around Ireland encountering an enormous diversity of wild and colourful creatures. From playful dolphins, giant basking sharks and exotic jellyfish to the recently discovered cold water coral reefs in deep Atlantic waters.
It also examines the changing nature of our relationship with the sea and it's creatures from the original subsistence coast folk of 9,000 years ago and the traditions they have handed down, to the 'super-trawler' fishing fleet and the current state of our oceans.
Hundreds of experts will be showcasing their work in marine science, weather and astronomy in Galway next Friday 23 September, the Galway Advertiser reports.
The special family-oriented Sea2Sky event - organised by NUI Galway in tandem with the Marine Institute and Galway Atlantaquaria - aims to educate the public about the wonders around us, from Ireland's marine wildlife and habitats to the stars and solar system.
The two main venues at Galway Atlantaquaria and Leisureland in Salthill will host various scientific demonstrations on the day, while the promenade between the two will be lined with amateur astronomers and their telescopes.
One of the highlights is sure to be the chance to see the remote submarine used by scientists to explore hydrothermal vents in the north Atlantic this summer.
The full programme of events is abailable at www.sea2sky.ie.
The infamous Celtic Mist is set to be used to track one of the most elusive marine animals in Irish waters.
The Irish Examiner reports that one of the first duties of the yacht under its new ownership by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) will be to track down the blue whale, the last of which was spotted off the Irish coast in 2009.
"We’ve made two sightings of the blue whale on the shelf edge but with the Celtic Mist we will be able to go out there for a few weeks and sit there and wait for them," said the IWDG's Dr Simon Berrow.
"Hopefully we will find some more when we bring the Celtic Mist out there. They are very rare."
The blue whale is regarded as the largest animal to have ever lived on earth. They also have an average lifespan of well over 100 years.
As previously reported by Afloat.ie, Celtic Mist was gifted by the Haughey family to the IWDG earlier this year to assist in its marine conservation work.
The yacht competed in a leg of the 2011 Tall Ships Race from Waterford to Scotland before moving to its new home in Co Clare, where it will be refitted for its new life as a research vessel.
Proposals to create more than 100 conservation zones to protect marine wildlife and plantlife in England and Wales have been unveiled.
BBC News reports that the proposals - covering waters around the English and Welsh coastlines, including parts of the Irish Sea - will be assessed by a panel of experts before a final decision by the British government, expected some time in 2012.
The Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) will have differing levels of protection, depending on what regulators choose to prohibit and when under the provisions of the 2009 UK Marine Bill. This is to allow flexibility for activities such as fishing and recreation.
Should all proposals be approved, it would place more than a quarter of all English waters under some form of protection.
It is also hoped that this is the first step towards a network of protected waters across the whole of the UK.
Proposals for protection zones in Scotland are expected to come forward next year. Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland legisative assembly has yet to pass its own marine protection laws.
BBC News has more on the story HERE.