Animal welfare volunteers in Ireland are on high alert after a 60-strong pod of pilot wales ran the risk of being stranded on the outer Western Isles of Scotland as they head south towards Ireland.

More than 60 of the mammals swam into a narrow and rocky sea loch on the island of South Uist in Scotland last Thursday prompting a major rescue operation, amid fears that dozens of whales could be killed in a mass beaching.  Later two were found dead as the pod left the loch on Sunday.

The pods departure raised more concerns that the whales could arrive on the Irish coast and again risk being stranded.

Mick O’Connell, stranding’s co-ordinater with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said he feared a repeat of last years incident where 33  whales were found dead on a deserted island off County Donegal.

"We're aware there's a reasonable chance of it happening again, but it might not, every single one is different. We're relying on our members and the public to report if they see them," he told the Guardian.

Simon Berrow, the groups co-ordinator said they are keeping a close watch on the situation.
We're on standby to see if the pilot whales come to Ireland, and we're getting regular updates from our colleagues in the UK. So we're watching and waiting."
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