A rare whale has died after it became stranded in an Irish harbor on Saturday.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said that a male Sowerby's beaked whale was spotted in distress in Wicklow Harbor on Saturday morning after it had appeared to lose its bearings.
Sowerby's beaked whales are normally found in the North Atlantic and the one found in Wicklow Harbor was unable to survive in the shallower waters of the Irish Sea.
The IWDG believes that this particular whale may have suffered acoustic trauma, causing it to lose its sense of directions and end up in the Irish harbor.
The group said that the Sowerby's beaked whales are particularly sensitive to acoustic trauma and said that it may have been caused by noise pollution.
The whale appeared disorientated and had difficulty moving, according to the IWDG, who feared that the mammal would have to be euthanized.
"Male Sowerby's beaked whale in Wicklow Harbour. Not looking in great condition, breathing regularly, suggestion of being thin in this video from Nick Veale. Expect it to die. deep-diving beaked whales particularly to acoustic trauma," the group said on Twitter.
Male Sowerby's beaked whale in Wicklow Harbour. Not looking in great condition, breathing regularly, suggestion of being thin in this video from Nick Veale. Expect it to die. deep-diving beaked whales particularly to acoustic trauma. pic.twitter.com/uFQqDWdAku— Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (@IWDGnews) July 4, 2020
The group posted an update five hours later to say that the whale was "nearly dead" and added that they might need assistance to remove its body and perform a post-mortem.
Sowerby's beaked whale nearly dead know. Alphamarine in Wicklow town offered to help recover onto their 4-wheel trailer. Hoping to access Regional Vet Labs for PM, requested by the NPWS. Might need help to lift onto trailer this evening. Thank you to everybody involved. pic.twitter.com/pnmo0ZeyKk— Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (@IWDGnews) July 4, 2020
The IWDG released a statement on Facebook on Saturday evening confirming that the whale had died and thanking local community members who had helped "respectfully and safely" remove its body from the water.
The group also thanked the Irish Coast Guard for its help and said that members of the IWDG would be carrying out a post-mortem on the animal.
"While we might not be able to understand exactly why it died, we will be able to find out more about the life of these rare and enigmatic whales," IWDG chief executive Dr. Simon Berrow told the Irish Times.