Footage of seven Orca whales in Lough Swilly, County Donegal, has gone viral in Ireland. The video, posted by a local angler, has caused a stir as only three Orcas/ Killer Whales have been spotted in the area in the last 40 years.
The video was shot by Kevin Doherty, a local angler and member of the Irish Basking Shark Research Team. The blurb posted with the video reads “Pod of killer whales filmed as they travel from Dunaff Head, Inishowen towards Fanad lighthouse.”
Emmett Johnston, Inishowen's Wildlife Ranger and part of the Irish Basking Shark Research Team spoke to IrishCentral about why this footage is so exciting.
He said “Although it is normal to see Minke whales in the area, Orcas /Killer Whales are very unusual with only three confirmed reports in the last 40 years.
“These whales hunt both inshore and offshore waters, previous records from the Irish coast are of smaller groups (two or three animals) this family group or pod of seven to eight whales is exceptional.
Using their expertise and experience in studying these whales the group has identified the pod, filmed on 6th June. He told IrishCentral how they have keep track of where the whales travel and have even named them.
Johnston explained “Using the distinctive fin markings colleges in the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have assisted us in the identification of the individual whales. We know they are members of what is known as the Scottish Hebridean Pod.
Members of this family pod have been previously sighted from Norway to Scotland to the west coast of Ireland. Some of the names of distinctive members of the pod identified are Aquarious, Floppy Fin and LuLu.”
Both Doherty, the cameraman, and Johnston are part of the Irish Basking Shark Research Team who are based on Inishowen between April and October and undertake shark research in the coastal waters around Malin head.
In the area of Inishowen, where this rare pod was spotted, Inishowen Boating and Rathmullan Charters both run water based wildlife tours. Johnston explained “Their main focus is shark angling – Porbeagle, Blue and Tope but they undertake shark (basking shark) and dolphin/whale (bottlenose, common/ Minke) watching on demand.”
Here’s the clip:
(WARNING – SOME STRONG LANGUAGE)