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Plucky young whale unbeaches at Bertra

A juvenile whale’s struggle to return to the water at Bertra beach was captured on camera.
A juvenile whale’s struggle to return to the water at Bertra beach was captured on camera. 

It’s a whale of a tale

Áine Ryan

FREE WILLY eat your heart out. This is a whale of a tale and while Mighty Minke may not be around to confirm the precise reasons why he was – temporarily – stranded on Bertra beach near Westport last Tuesday morning, he has caused a ripple or two on the world wide web in the interim.
Coincidentally, the young four-metre minke whale was stranded on the morning before a magnitude four earthquake erupted 60 km off the Mayo coast, shortly before 9am on Wednesday last, June 6. Whether the juvenile whale had already detected the seismic activity and decided to come on shore for a quick prayer at holy mountain, Croagh Patrick, is a matter of speculation but, one thing for sure, is he made a lucky escape from the shingly shores of Clew Bay.

According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG)’s stranding co-ordinator, Mick O’Connell, such beaching episodes ‘usually end tragically as the animal becomes disorientated and stressed’.
He writes on the IWDG website: “Sometimes it is hard to avoid the temptation to jump in and get involved in coaxing the cetacean back into deeper water. But hats off to Conor [McGuire] and friends, who quite rightly gave the whale as much time as it needed to correct the situation. That said, if this animal is in poor condition with an underlying illness, it may well re-strand, but fingers crossed this won’t occur.”
The group says it will continue to keep ‘a close eye on the [north west] coast to see if there is any spike in unusual stranding events’ that may be linked to the earthquake.

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

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