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Displaying items by tag: Dolphins

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Marine researchers off the coast of Donegal were recently treated to a rare dolphin dance by a 50-strong pod, as IrishCentral reports.

The video above captures the same pod witnessed by researchers with the Irish Basking Shark Project, who were in the area off Inishowen to observe basking sharks in the coastal waters when they were surprised by the gregarious dolphin congregation.

A spokesperson for the project confirmed to IrishCentral that such large groupings of dolphins are unusual for the area, which has welcomed more than its fair share of large marine wildlife over recent months.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, one of the first confirmed sightings of killer whales on the Irish coastline was recorded earlier this summer when a family of orcas from the Scottish Hebrides visited the same waters at the mouth of Lough Swilly.

Meanwhile, WorldIrish reports on the heartwarming tale of a Dutch couple who have bonded with Dingle's most famous non-human resident, Fungie the dolphin.

Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhart, who now live in Annascaul, have visited the friendly cetacean for 21 years, and their connection has inspired a fanpage on Facebook that has received responses from Fungie fans around the world.

"Fungie has enriched our lives and we want to give something back to him by offering our friendship and companionship to him," said Jeannine, "and he lets us know over and over again that he really appreciates it."

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has called for the extension of Ireland's pioneering whale and dolphin sanctuary throughout European coastal waters.

As the Clare Herald reports, the move comes on the 21st anniversary of the declaration of Irish waters as a sanctuary for cetaceans by then Taoiseach Charles Haughey - whose family gifted his yacht Celtic Mist to the IWDG to assist in its marine wildlife conservation work.

"The sanctuary declaration was unique in Europe and no EU member state had made such an unequivocal statement about the importance of their waters for cetaceans," said the IWDG's Brendan Price.

The sanctuary extends up to 200 nautical miles offshore, covering the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone, and in the two decades since its founding has prompted a greater awareness of and interest in the whales and dolphins that populate Ireland's waters.

The declaration "led to a clearer understanding of the responsibility Ireland had to cetaceans and their habitat including in offshore waters," added Price. "The sanctuary declaration was a precursor to action leading to protection in Irish waters and thus the IWDG considers the sanctuary declaration a success."

Price went on to outline the IWDG's vision for extending this sanctuary throughout European waters.

"There are a number of small marine protected areas in Europe for cetaceans, including harbour porpoise and bottlenose dolphins, and some international sanctuaries such as the Pelagos Sanctuary in the Mediterranean.

"These areas all have important roles to play but cetaceans are mobile marine species and travel large distances. Also, to gain public support for cetacean conservation it may require a larger, more simple concept."

The group intends to promote its proposals within the continent "and encourage like-minded people and organisations to lobby their own government to make such a clear and unequivocal statement on cetacean conservation".

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The famous dolphins of Cardigan Bay have been found to cross the Irish Sea to spend their winter holidays in the Isle of Man, WalesOnline reports.

New evidence uncovered by researchers at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) confirms that dolphins from the New Quay area on the Welsh coastline have been photographed over the winter hundreds of miles north by conservationists in Douglas.

As many as eight vacationing cetaceans have been identified by matching markings on their dorsal fins, with one being a regular visitor since 2005.

“We’re really excited about this because it confirms how far the Cardigan Bay dolphins roam in the winter months when we see fewer of them at New Quay – knowledge we need to have if we’re to protect them successfully," said CBMWC science officer Sarah Perry.

Cardigan Bay is home to Europe’s largest population of bottlenose dolphins and is one of the last remaining places in the UK where the species thrives.

WalesOnline has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The rate of cetacean strandings on the Irish coast remains unusually high, according to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

The group's Cetacean Stranding Scheme recorded 162 strandings in 2011 which, while numbers do vary from year to year, was 25-30 more than anticipated.

And already this year the numbers are up on last year's 'inexplicable' records for the first quarter.

Some 21 strandings were reported to the IWDG in January alone - the highest ever number recorded for that month, well above the average of 13.

February's figures are even more worrying, with 30 strandings reported this year compared to a five-year average of 11.4.

"As we are now well into 2012, it is clear that the numbers have not returned to what we could have considered to be more normal levels," said the group in a statement.

There is as yet no explanation, whether a single cause or a number of factors, for what might be causing this significant rise in strandings of both live and dead animals, although one curious clue is "the number of carcasses which had washed ashore with tail fluke/fins apparently cut away".

In other IWDG news, the group recently announced the receipt of £2,000 (€2,400) core funding support from Scottish-based veterinary X-ray firm BCF Technology Ltd, which funds a number of charities through its BCF Foundation.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Newstalk reports that gardaí are investigaing the shooting of seals on a Waterford beach.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, fears are mounting of an illegal cull of marine wildlife in the area after a seal and a dolphin were found dead from gunshot wounds within a day of two seals being discovered with similar wounds.

All four animals were found along the same stretch of Tramore Beach late last month.

A spokesperson for the Irish Seal Sanctuacy pointed the finger at an illegal cull allegedly carried out by local fishermen.

The Irish Wildlife Trust has welcomed the Garda investigation into the incidents, and has called on the public to report any relevant information they may have.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) will host the 26th annual European Cetacean Society Conference in Galway on the weekend of 24-25 March this year.

The Galway Bay Hotel will be the site for the main conference sessions, while workshops will also be held at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).

This year's gathering is being held under the theme 'Communication: Information and Ideas Worth Sharing'. Participants will be exploring communication between marine mammals as well as between marine scientists, and between scientists and the public.

As Ireland's Wildlife reports, the conference "offers a offers a great opportunity to find out more about whales and dolphins, their conservation, the cetacean research being carried out in Europe and to meet the researchers who are working to uncover the mysteries of these most enigmatic of creatures."

Registration is now open for the two-day event. For full details of the conference programme, venues and booking information, visit the European Cetacean Society Conference micro site HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) says 2011 was a record year for whale and dolphin strandings, according to The Irish Times.

IWDG co-ordinator Dr Simon Berrow confirmed a total of 160 strandings reported by year's end.

"This is by far the highest total for the number of stranding records and the third highest total for sighting records since the IWDG recording schemes were established in 1991," he said.

The 2011 record compares to a figure of 92 stranded cetaceans in 2010 - a number much lower than previous years.

Dr Berrow explained to BBC News: "The figures for 2010 were very low, and, we think, this was due to the easterly winds that year. But now we are back up to the kind of level we expect."

Stranding records in 2011 were characterised by a very high peak of common dolphin strandings during February and a high number of porpoise strandings during the winter.

Meanwhile, Dr Berrow considered the latest sightings record "very impressive" given the exceptionally poor sea conditions during autumn and winter.

More than 1,500 whale and dolphin sightings were made in 2011 around the entire coastline of Ireland despite the bad weather.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Three whales and a dolphin were found beached over the past few days along Ireland's west coast, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group confirmed that reports had been received of a bottlenose whale on White Strand in Co Clare, a pilot whale on Fintra Beach in Co Donegal and a dolphin in Silverstrand, Co Galway - all found dead.

The latest find was a male sperm whale stranded on Omey Island in Co Galway, shed of its skin and with a broken lower jaw.

"Chances are it died offshore and got washed in with the wind," said Berrow.

The IWDG said such strandings were relatively common, although as reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year there has been growing concern over the rising number of dolphin deaths along the south coast in particular.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - They were thought to have disappeared from the east coast in October after delighting wildlife enthusiasts in Dublin and Wicklow.

But concerns that one of the group had died were swept side when the pod of three bottlenose dolphins was once again spotted off Killiney recently.

The Wicklow People reports that the two adults and one juvenile reappeared almost two weeks ago, and have been seen daily "putting on great displays of leaping, breaching, and tail slapping".

Fears were that tragedy had befallen the group when two bottlenoses were seen off Skerries and Balbriggan in late October, and a juvenile was found dead in Portmarnock shortly after.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, some 200 sightings of the dolphins between Dalkey Island and Wicklow town in recent months were validated by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

According to the IWDG, evidence suggests that the pod is now resident off the east coast.

The Wicklow People has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 46 reports of stranded whales and dolphins in Northern Ireland are among the thousands recorded across the UK over the last six years, according to BBC News.

A new study co-ordinated by the Zoological Socoety of London (ZSL) shows that some 3,500 cetaceans were stranded on the British coastline between 2005 and 2010.

Though year-on-year figures have fallen overall, is presumed that many more strandings have gone undetected.

Many were found to have died of disease or starvation – particular harbour dolphins.

But human activity such as fishing, shipping and chemical pollution also poses a significant threat to marine wildlife in the waters around the British Isles, said Rob Deaville of the ZSL.

The public is being encouraged to report stranded marine mammals to help create a more accurate picture.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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