Stranded whale dies in Baltimore
A fin whale that was stranded against a harbour wall in Baltimore in west Cork since Tuesday has died.
The 14m (46ft) whale, which resisted attempts by fishermen to coax it back into open waters after it swam into harbour, stopped moving or breathed at about 12.30pm today.
Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the animal's death was sad but inevitable.
“It is a relief really, as we were all expecting it to die last night. It was very distressed this morning and we were beginning to consider alternative options to put it out of its misery,” he added.
The IWDG spoke with the Naval Service and the Army this morning about attempting to shoot the whale, and logistics were being put in place for this evening.
“There were safety and ordinance concerns about shooting it, as very powerful rifles would be needed, so thankfully the whale died before we had to shoot it,” Mr Berrow said.
A spokesman for Cork County Council said the whale would be towed to a secure location later today and incinerated at one of five plants in the State capable of dealing with a carcass of this size.
“This has been a learning curve for all involved,” Mr Berrow said. “The IWDG will be meeting with representatives of the Defence Forces, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and local authorities to attempt to put in place a protocol on how to deal with this situation in the future.”