A rare deepwater whale which washed up on the north Antrim shoreline in Northern Ireland has died.
The juvenile Sei whale, nine metres in length, was stranded on a beach beside Red Bay pier near Waterfoot.
The animal was too weak to refloat as local experts tried to save its life.
The Sunday Independent reports that the death comes as fears emerge over the high rate of strandings on Irish coasts.
One whale and dolphin expert told the paper that the rising number of strandings is ‘truly shocking’.
Irish Whale and Dolphin Group expert Ian Enlander examined the stricken whale.
He said: “The Sei whale that was found stranded was incredibly rare in this part of the world.
“This is quite a young individual, so the likelihood is that it would still have been attended by its mother.
“This is a deep open ocean species, so I suspect the young one has become separated from the mother somehow and has made its way into shallow water.
“It was clearly completely disorientated - some of the locals were describing to me that it was swimming round and round in tight circles.
“Unfortunately, it was also a falling tide so really by the time that it’s stranded in the condition we see it in now, there’s absolutely nothing we can do.”
Mick O’Connell, strandings officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, said earlier this month that the increase in strandings around the Irish coast in recent years is ‘truly shocking’.
He said: “Looking at the numbers of cetacean strandings over the last few years, I do find the facts ringing alarm bells, and the worst part is not knowing what is, or are, the reasons for the changes.”