A spate of dolphin strandings along the west coast over the past week has been described as unusual by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.
Six separate incidents from Kerry to south Donegal involved strandings by three separate species of dolphin. Some of the animals survived after refloating, but some perished.
The first report involved a common dolphin on Ventry strand, Co Kerry on July 23rd, the animal was refloated the following day.
Six days later, on July 29th, a common dolphin was spotted alive on the shore at Killala, Co Mayo, but it didn't survive.
Last week, on August 5th, a Risso’s dolphin swam up on sand at Elly Bay in north Mayo. It was refloated, but became stranded again later that day and died the following day.
On August 7th, five common dolphins were discovered alive on Rossnowlagh beach here in County Donegal. Two of these were refloated, but three others died on the beach and were taken to Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology for examination.
On Monday, another dolphin was found stranded at Mayo’s Killala Bay. Locals managed to lift it on to a tarpaulin and it was taken to deeper water at Lacken where it was coaxed out to sea.
Also on Monday, a striped dolphin normally found in tropical waters, was found dead on the Shannon Estuary in Co Clare. It's believed it may have been alive when it stranded.
At the minute, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group says it can “only speculate” as to the cause of the various dolphin strandings.