Sperm whale beaches itself in Dungarvan

Picture courtesy of @maidhci, via Twitter

A male sperm whale, the world's largest predator, has beached itself on the Cunnigar Strand in Dungarvan.

The incident follows numerous sightings of the cetacean off the south-east coast over the past 24 hours.

Andrew Malcolm of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said this afternoon that the whale, around 10m in length, was "still very much alive".

Unfortunately the prognosis is not good for the animal, which was likely to have been in a weakend condition before "live stranding".

"Once they come this far inshore they are pretty much doomed," said Pádraig Whooley of the IWDG, who said the option of euthanasia was being considered if the animal was judged to be in considerable distress.

"The last live-stranded sperm whale was in Magheroarty, Co. Donegal in April 2007," Mr Whooley added.

"To date there have been only one previously validated sperm whale stranding in the south-east region, which was back in September 1993 at Kilmore Quay, reflecting their offshore distribution in deep Atlantic waters off our west coast, where they routinely dive to depths in excess of 1,000m."

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