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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

Family of bottlenose dolphins spotted off Kerry coast

The dolphins are believed to have travelled from Scotland.

Fenit-15082019_ID2_2 Source: Simon Berrow/IWDG

A GROUP OF dolphins, believed to be from Scotland, have been spotted off the Kerry coast.

Spirtle, a Scottish female bottlenose dolphin, has been seen off the west coast of Ireland several times in recent weeks.

She and a group of dolphins were spotted off Fenit in Tralee Bay this week. 

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has been tracking Spirtle’s movements and in a statement released today said she was seen on Thursday “throwing fish, presumably mackerel, showing she and her group are feeding and in good health”.

A juvenile dolphin was among those spotted in the group in recent days. The IWDG has been in touch with experts in Scotland in a bid to identify the dolphins.

Fenit-15082019_IDJuv-with-ID2 Source: Simon Berrow/IWDG

Dr Barbara Cheney, a marine biologist at the University of Aberdeen, believes one of the dolphins accompanying Spirtle is a six-year old who is the first fourth-generation calf known to a local research centre.

Charlie Phillips, a photographer based in Cromarty in Scotland, has identified two of the other dolphins as Porridge, Spirtle’s mother, and Doyle.

The IWDG welcomed the news, saying it “strongly suggests a small group of related and strongly associated bottlenose dolphins made the journey to Ireland’s east and west coasts”.

“We have documented movements of individual bottlenose dolphins between Ireland and Scotland before, but we do not know how often this occurs or whether it is “typical” behaviour,” a spokesperson said.

“We hope to continue to monitor the presence of this famous Scottish dolphin and see if she stays or travels further,” they added.

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Órla Ryan

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