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A LONELY END; 65ft whale dies after stranding on beach.

Byline: BY CLAIRE BRENNAN

A THIRTY-TONNE whale suffered a lonely death after beaching itself as desperate efforts were made to coax it back to sea.

More than 20 people joined the effort at Courtmacsharry Bay, Co Cork, to rescue the 65ft mammal.

Simon Berrow, from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, said: "As soon as it became beached options were limited.

"The best hope was to try and prevent the whale from stranding, which was not possible. Euthanasia is impossible. Vets in Ireland do not have enough drugs available to immobilise an animal of that size."

He added that shooting the mammal is often the kindest option but that was not necessary. Gardai and Coastguard were also called to the beach in case the whale became a danger to the public.

Simon added: "Human safety has to come first. When a whale is beached it becomes very agitated.

"It also loses all the circulation to its body and can start thrashing around which is dangerous for anyone attempting to refloat it."

Cork's IWDG only have resources to carry mammals up to 20ft back out to sea so larger ones often die.

Since 2008 there have been a record number of strandings including at least 17 dolphins and two whales.

A whale can start thrashing around which is dangerous for anyone nearby

CAPTION(S):

Co Cork Ireland Yesterday Picture PROVISION; SADNESS Dead whale on beach at Courtmacsharry Bay; PICTURE THIS Youngster stands next to whale; BIG ATTRACTION Locals gather around the whale yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 16, 2009
Words:252
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