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20 Jan 2022

Concerns raised over welfare of Carlingford Lough dolphin, with images on social media showing cuts on its side

Concerns raised over welfare of Carlingford Lough dolphin, with images on social media showing cuts on its side

Finn, the bottlenose dolphin, frequents the Carlingford area

Concerns have been raised about the welfare of Carlingford’s resident bottlenose dolphin, Finn after photos show cuts along its side.

Photos of the dolphin with wounds on its side first emerged on social media last week, with the public raising concern about the welfare of Finn and whether the injury was caused by the propellor of a boat.

The photos, which appeared on the Carlingford Lough and the Cooley Peninsula Facebook page, show a cut on the side of the local dolphin.

The page itself put out a warning, asking people to be careful around Finn.

Since the photos emerged last week, there have been calls for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to step in with a marine officer for the Carlingford area.

Liz Sandeman, co-founder of Marine Connection, an organization based in the UK which deals with the protection of dolphins and whales, told the Democrat that the public need to be careful with dolphins.

“Dolphins are enigmatic mammals and the excitement they cause when they appear close to shore, and people’s wish to see or get closer to them, is understandable,” said Ms Sandeman.

“However, it is critical the public respect that Finn is a wild dolphin and caution around him is required for the safety of both the dolphin and all water users.

“People should view the dolphin from a safe area on the shoreline, and if in a vessel, keep a distance of at least 100m from the animal and not change direction to follow him.”

Ms Sandeman said that she has contacted the Department for a marine officer to “monitor potential threats” to Finn.

“I have been in contact with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs requesting that one of their marine officers visit the area to monitor potential threats the dolphin is now facing on a regular basis (all be it unintentionally), from boats, jet skis or swimmers,” said Mrs Sandeman.

“Finn’s latest injury down one side of his body is of real concern, and although there is no evidence of how he sustained this serious gash, his future welfare is at risk. 

“Carlingford Lough is very fortunate to have its own resident dolphin and the fate of Finn’s future is, to a great extent, at the mercy of people's desire to swim or be closely around him.

“Hopefully Greenore will have its dolphin for some time yet.”

Finn was first spotted in the Greenore and Carlingford areas last June, where he was officially named in a poll on Facebook.

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