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Stranded

An orca washed up on a Waterford beach yesterday

It is the first since 2010.

whale Shauna Burke / Instagram Shauna Burke / Instagram / Instagram

A FIVE-METRE long female orca was found on a beach at Saleen, near Tramore, County Waterford yesterday.

Locals came across the animal which the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group thinks may have died from malnourishment.

This is the 15th stranding of an orca on the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group’s IDGW cetacean strandings database and the first since October 2010 in Mayo.

A study on the animal will be carried out tomorrow by a team from IWDG and GMIT and it is hoped that the skeleton will be preserved to be put on display locally.

IDGW recorded at least 32 cetacean strandings in January. They say that “strong westerly winds are likely to be pushing dead floating animals ashore whether those animals have died from natural causes or not”.

 

Dr Simon Berrow, who will lead the GMIT team, told TheJournal.ie that the orca was probably an older female who will now be studied.

“It’s a rare chance to see this species up close. We can judge by its teeth that it’s probably an old female.

“We don’t have an official post-mortem system, so what we do is we try and take samples and learn about diet, reproduction and contamination levels.

Orca Michelle Dooley Michelle Dooley

“The corpse has been taken up the beach to keep it safe and the Coast Guard is keeping an eye on it.

“People sometimes try to come and take souvenirs. Managing people is the most difficult thing.”

Read: Move over Fungi! Dolphins filmed swimming off the Donegal coast

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