A 62-foot whale was discovered washed up on a Co Kerry beach on Sunday morning, July 9.

The fin whale was discovered at Baile Uí Chuill Strand, Ballinskelligs, on Sunday after washing up on the beach late on Saturday night. 

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) believes that the whale was dead for a number of weeks before coming ashore in Co Kerry. 

The fin whale stranded near Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry was visited by IWDG Strandings Officer Stephanie Levesque under the...

Posted by Irish Whale and Dolphin Group on Monday, July 10, 2023

IWDG said in a statement that its Strandings Officer Stephanie Levesque, under the Deep Diving and Rare species Investigation Programme (DDRIP), visited the whale near Ballinskelligs.

The whale was a male measuring 19m in length which would have made it not fully grown. Samples of skin, blubber, and baleen were taken.

IWDG said that unfortunately, the whale was too decomposed for a full post-mortem to be conducted.

Following a conversation with Kerry County Council, they are intending to let it remain on site as the land is private and it is quite secluded.

Levesque separately told the Irish Examiner that it is rare but not out of the ordinary for a fin whale to wash ashore in Ireland. 

"We would expect around one or two fin whales per year," Levesque said.

Levesque added that she hopes the samples taken from the whale will provide valuable information about the whale's ecology, anatomy, and life history in addition to its cause of death. 

Fin whales are the second-largest mammal on the planet, typically spanning between 69 and 74 ft in length. They boast a pointed head and a curved dorsal fin. 

More than 60 fin whales have been photo identified in Irish waters and are typically spotted off the south coast. 

One whale - named Scar by the IWDG - has been regularly spotted in waters off Cork and Waterford since 2005. 

Fin whales are classed as endangered species and have been significantly impacted by commercial whaling. It is estimated that there are between 50,000 and 90,000 fin whales on the planet today. 

Fin whales are further threatened by climate change and habitat loss.