The body of rescued “dolphin” was found washed up on the beach at 9am on Tuesday morning
Three local men discovered the carcass of a porpoise early on Tuesday morning, which it is now believed is likely to have been one or both of the “dolphins” that were rescued.
The Democrat have previously reported that two dolphins were rescued after the efforts of locals and the Dundalk Sub Aqua team after they were spotted in the shallows following the Blackrock Raft Race on Sunday 25 June.
It was initially thought that there were two dolphins, but it now believed that the rescued dolphin had simply returned after having been taken back out to sea.
The man who made the grisly discovery was Fane Community Group/Blackrock Tidy Towns Supervisor Pat Rafferty, from Haggardstown.
Pat was patrolling the beach with Liam Breatnach and Mark McMahon at approximately 9am on Tuesday morning, when they spotted the slimline body washed up the beach.
“It must have beached on Monday night sometime, as we would have seen it the day before. Unfortunately it seems that gulls had got to it.”
Indeed much of the porpoise’s face had been eaten away, as had portions of its flipper and tail.
“The birds usually go for the softer parts. All three of us thought it was an awful pity, a beautiful animal like that.
“Maybe if it had beached during the day we would have been able to rescue it.”
Pat contacted Louth County Council, and they sent County Veterinary Officer Garrett Shine to do a techinical examination of the body and ultimately to dispose of it.
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat Mr Shine said: “I was called out to investigate and arrange proper disposal of a dead porpoise from the beach at Blackrock.
“The sightings you reported the previous week would have been harbour porpoises as opposed to dolphins, very similar creatures but the porpoise has no ‘beak’ so to speak and a more trianagular dorsal fin and by far the most common variety of cetacean in the Irish Sea around here, but most people will always refer to them as dolphins as they are so similar.
“Usually a ‘stranding’ is an indication that the animal is ill or injured, so it may not be too surpirising that it did eventually turn up dead.
“I have reported the incident to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who were aware of the stranding and rescue last week, as they keep records of all such matters,” concluded Garrett Shine.
Sea mammals such as dolphins and porpoises are known to come to shore to die, so the discovery does not nescessarily mean that the animal had accidentally stranded.
Regardless of the cause of this sea mammals death, it was a sad ending to what had initially appeared to be heart warming story.
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