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Group of children free dolphin trapped in rockpool

The mammal – believed to be a striped dolphin – became stuck in shallow water in rocks on Kilkee Beach.

File photo of a striped dolphin
File photo of a striped dolphin
Image: Javier Delgado Esteban via Flickr/Creative Commons

A COAST GUARD unit was dispatched to Kilkee Beach last night following reports of a distressed dolphin trapped in shallow waters. But they arrived to find they weren’t needed – a group of children had already helped free the mammal into the open sea.

The call out came at around 7.30pm. And the Kilkee Coast Guard unit arrived just in time to see the dolphin swim away, after it was helped out of shallow rock pools – a spokesperson for the coast guard service told TheJournal.ie.

According to Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who also arrived at the beach shortly afterwards, the mammal was presumed to be a striped dolphin.

There were also reports of other dolphins in the area last night, according to Berrow. He was told by locals that another had also been encouraged to swim back out to sea, after almost becoming beached in shallow water. Berrow says there may have been as many as four in the area:

We were talking to people and trying to ascertain the species, but there were conflicting reports. One local I spoke to said they may have been small, younger dolphins, but another person said they were quite big.

If they were striped dolphins that swam towards shore its likely they may have been distressed. In that case what often happens is they may beach again later. The bottlenose is more confident in shallow water.

Berrow says there have been a few other incidents of dolphins becoming beached in recent days – three in Mayo and one in Waterford – although he added this was nothing unusual:

What sometimes can happen is you have nothing for weeks at a time, then a few at once.

Separately – in the US, more than 124 bottlenose dolphins have washed up along the Atlantic coast since July – prompting officials to launch an investigation into the mysterious deaths.

Scientists are working to find out if an infectious agent may be to blame, since some of the dolphins appeared to have lesions in their lungs.

An “unusual mortality event” has been declared due to the “unexpected and significant die-off” that has spanned the coasts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia since early July, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries unit.

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- additional reporting from AFP

Read: Swimmers in Clare are being warned “don’t swim with this dolphin”!


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Daragh Brophy

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