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DOLPHIN DEATHS 'A MYSTERY' Public appeal for sightings.

Byline: MATT BLAKE

A NUMBER of dead dolphins have mysteriously been discovered off the Irish coast in recent days, it has emerged.

The Irish Whale And Dolphin Group have appealed for the public to report any sightings of stranded mammals in Kerry after an "unusual sequence of marine mammal beachings over recent days".

The group said they received reports last Friday of about 12 dead bottlenose dolphins in shallow water in Tralee Bay.

Other dead mammals were also found floating off Fenit, and Camp on the Dingle Peninsula.

A Kerry County Council vet conducted one postmortem, but it was unable to establish the cause of death. The IWDG's strandings coordinator Mick O'Connell said the deaths required further investigation.

He added: "Further enquiries suggested they were bottlenose dolphins and so we were not overly concerned as this species is familiar with shallow water and does not commonly live-strand."

But the IWDG was told one bottlenose dolphin had beached and was found dead at the location.

Mr O'Connell said: "This incident does highlight the need for a national plan in the event of a dolphin mass stranding which could be caused by an epizootic [animal disease].

"We have a number of priorities now, namely to locate any further stranded animals within the area, to photograph any features to compare with ID catalogues and to establish if these dolphins have been recorded before and where."
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 16, 2009
Words:232
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