Belfast Telegraph

Second whale dies off north coast

A second whale has died after becoming stranded off Northern Ireland's north coast.

The young pilot whale had to be put down after becoming separated from its mother, on which it would have depended for food, close to Portballintrae off the Co Antrim coast.

Experts from the Department of Environment (DoE) had been monitoring the unweaned calf for the past 12 days and said it was severely malnourished.

A DoE spokeswoman said: " They have been monitoring the whale closely from the shore and by boat and high resolution photos had clearly shown that the animal was an unweaned calf, separated from its mother and severely emaciated.

"Regrettably for this animal, given that it would be fully dependent on its mother at such an early stage in its life, the inevitable conclusion was that the animal would be unable to survive alone."

Vets had to be called in last night after a member of the public reported the whale had become stranded on rocks at Portballintrae.

"Around 5pm yesterday DoE staff were notified by a member of the public that the whale had stranded within Portballintrae Bay. The standby vet was immediately contacted and DoE staff stabilised and cooled the animal while the vet was en route."

The whale carcass has now been removed and taken for a post-mortem examination.

On Saturday, a nine-metre long Sei whale died after becoming beached at Waterfoot, Co Antrim. Experts said it died from suffocation.

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