Mon, Mar
22 New Articles

Whale stranded on Achill beach

minke whale
This Minke Whale was stranded in Achill last week.

Whale stranded on Achill beach

Anton McNulty

The rare sight of a live minke whale stranded on Keel beach on Achill Island came to a sad end when the whale died soon after coming ashore.
The eight-metre adult male came ashore on Keel beach near Dookinella last Tuesday, April 17.
It was also reported that a second whale came ashore later in the week on the isolated Annagh Strand on the north side of Achill Island. However, details of the whale are unclear and it is not known if the whale was alive or dead when the rough tide brought the animal back out to sea.
Whale strandings on Achill are extremely rare, with the last reported stranding occurring over 20 years ago. Further up the coast, a killer whale (or orca whale) was stranded on Doohoma beach, Erris, in October 2010.
Orla Calvey, a representative of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) on Achill said the minke whale died soon after coming ashore, and that it is unclear how the whale became stranded.
“We can’t say why the whale came ashore or how it died,” she told The Mayo News. “It was not an old whale, as it was very clean – older whales would have barnacles on them. A minke whale can grow up to ten metres in length and can live up to 45 years.”
A sample of the tissue of the whale was taken for DNA purposes to record the stranding. The IWDG record stranding details of whales and dolphins on their website and the public are asked to report any stranding to the group
The minke whale is a common sight off the Mayo coast. It was one of the whales hunted in the early 1900s, when a whaling station was located in Inis Ge off Blacksod.

HAVE YOUR SAY email antonmcnulty@mayonews.ie with your comments