herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Three pilot whales saved by volunteers at Kerry beach

RESCUE

Members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, along with staff from Dingle Oceanworld, get into the water to help rescue one of the distressed whales which became stuck at Brandon pier
Members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, along with staff from Dingle Oceanworld, get into the water to help rescue one of the distressed whales which became stuck at Brandon pier

These brave volunteers rescued three pilot whales when they became stranded off the Dingle peninsula in west Kerry yesterday.

The mammals got into trouble just off Goulane Beach, near Brandon.

The beach was busy with tourists when members of the public spotted the three whales and contacted the wildlife group.

Members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and some people from Dingle Oceanworld came to their assistance and began a rescue operation just after 10am yesterday morning.

Louise Overy and Paddy O'Dwyer of the IWDG coordinated the rescue effort and managed to put the distressed whales back out to sea.

Aoife Dowd, a local woman from Cloghane, explained that an outgoing tide meant that one of the whales subsequently became stuck at Brandon pier.

Cheer

"People got into the water in their wetsuits and did everything in their power to push the whale back towards the open sea," Aoife told the Herald.

"The whale seemed to be unwell, and resisted our attempts (to assist him).

"A local man called Mike O'Malley then used his boat to tow the whale out using a rope," she said.

Aoife said that approximately 150 people who had gathered on the pier began to cheer when the whale made his way back into the sea.

"It was so great that it all ended on a happy note, it would have been awful if the whale had died on the beach in front of all the children," Aoife added.

Dr Kevin Flannery from Dingle Oceanworld is asking people to keep an eye out for the whales as they travel out to rejoin the larger pod.

He believes that one of them is sick and that is why they beached in the first place.

The IWDG have come to the assistance of several dolphins and porpoises that have beached in the area recently.

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