Appeal to public to stay away from dying whale in Baltimore
LOCAL whale and dolphin expert Pádraig Whooley issued an appeal to the public on Wednesday afternoon to stay away from where a fin whale, estimated to be up to 50ft in length, is dying after becoming stranded against the pier wall in Baltimore Harbour the day before.
The scene is said to be quite upsetting and, as it is too dangerous to make any attempt to move the whale while alive, it is being allowed die naturally. This will present its own problems for the county council, which will have to organise the removal and disposal of the carcass post mortem.
A meeting was held in Baltimore on Wednesday evening with locals and those monitoring the situation, including Mr Pádraig Whooley, but no firm decision was made as they will have to liaise with Cork County Council personnel on what to do with the whale once she’s dead.
On RTÉ news this evening (Wednesday), it was reported that she will be sent to Waterford IT for scientific research purposes, but we couldn’t get this confirmed at the time or writing.
The whale beached shortly after being spotted making its way through moorings in the harbour early on Tuesday morning.
Hundreds of people went to Baltimore on Tuesday to see the stranded whale. In the early part of the day the marine mammal didn’t appear too distressed to the untrained eye, but as they day wore on it became more and more obvious that she was in a very distraught state. After a few minutes of frenzied activity in very low water at about 8pm on Tuesday, the damage she was doing to herself became very visible and obvious as the sea around her turned red.
The atmosphere among those who were watching changed palpably after that with people taking their children away from the scene and many adults becoming quite upset.
Many people did stay on — it was as though they were keeping a vigil in a very respectful way and wishing that the beautiful creature’s anguish would soon be ended.
People should resist the temptation to go to Baltimore to see the whale at this stage — it’s a harrowing scene now and there’s nothing to be gained from being there.
Mr Whooley, sightings co-ordinator with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who has been monitoring the situation since early on Tuesday, said that the whale was most likely sick or distressed before becoming stranded in Baltimore harbour and that the prognosis in these situations was never good.
Mr Whooley said that when whales or dolphins end up in strange situations like this it is usually as a result of them being sick and in a weakened condition. He added that the whale was probably in a very poor condition when it entered Baltimore harbour anyway and, in situations like this when great whales strand, it is never good.
Mr Whooley said on Tuesday evening that they had thought of euthanising the whale, but because it was so large this was not an option. He said it was difficult for onlookers to understand why the experts weren’t doing more to rescue this whale, but he believed that towing it out to sea was only delaying what was almost certainly going to be the whale’s demise.
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