By Kieran O’Mahony
VIDEO footage and photos of two West Cork males, who danced with a dead harbour porpoise in a student apartment in Cork last week, have been handed over to gardaí in Anglesea Street in the city.
Following an appeal and a reward of €4,000 put up by marine conservationist Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), the names of two males, believed to be from Skibbereen, were given.
‘We haven’t heard back from the gardaí yet, but the National Parks and Wildlife Service are also investigating the incident,’ Capt Watson told The Southern Star.
‘There should be a prosecution because they were involved in the possession and unlawful disposal of a porpoise that is protected,’ said Capt Watson, one of the founders of Greenpeace.
A distressing video of the porpoise being thrown from a third floor apartment window to the ground below, was circulated around the world on social media this week.
‘We received hundreds of messages from people who were repulsed by the images, but thankfully we received three reliable informants who all gave the same names. It is an offence to trade, possess or transport harbour porpoises and parts, and the offence is committed, regardless of whether the animal is alive or dead. They shouldn’t have touched it, they shouldn’t have moved it, and they certainly shouldn’t have done what they did,’ he said.
It is thought the dead porpoise was found on Tragumna beach last week by the two young males, who then brought it to a student apartment on Model Farm Road.
Footage then emerged on the social media app, Snapchat, of the duo dancing with the dead carcass before throwing it out the window.
Danny O’Keeffe, local ranger with the Parks and Wildlife Service, said that he is aware of the incident and will be investigating it.
‘There may be an offence attached to it, but I haven’t had a chance to study it yet. We are going to investigate it and firstly establish the facts. A process has to unfold properly – porpoises are protected and fall under the protection of the Wildlife Act,’ said Danny.
Nic Slocum of Whale Watch West Cork said it was ‘revolting and rather sad that people would think it’s funny to have fun with a dead porpoise.’