Belfast Telegraph

Rare baby sei whale dies stranded in Co Antrim harbour

BY JOANNE FLEMING

A rare deep sea whale lies dead on a Co Antrim beach on Saturday after being washed ashore.

At almost nine metres long, the baby Sei whale was spotted beside Red Bay pier by fishermen near Waterfoot early on Saturday, attracting scores of onlookers.

It is believed the whale may have lost its mother or become ill. Severe weather, which hit the north coast at the weekend, can also sometimes cause the beaching of whales.

Ballycastle Coastguard, watched by scores of onlookers, tried to refloat the whale with no success.

Ian Enlander, from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, was among those called to the scene.

He said the Sei whale was "incredibly rare in this part of the world".

Eyewitness Steven McAuley said: "There is very little anyone could do because of the sheer weight of the thing and unfortunately it appears to have died.

"It is a spectacular size, and an unusual scene for the area. It's not an everyday thing."

The beached whale was not the only startling sight on the north coast at the weekend, with a number of brave walkers seen batting gale force winds of up to 60mph along the Portrush coast.

The Met Office issued a weather warning yesterday for strong winds and gales in Northern Ireland, Scotland, north Wales and north west England.

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