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Water success Mayo locals, visitors and gardaí rescue 13 dophins stranded in Blacksod

"Once all dolphins had spent time being supported in the water by everyone the rest of the group were released"

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Dolphin rescue

Dolphin rescue

Dolphin rescue

The Mayo Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has thanked the local community, visitors and gardaí who helped assist 13 common dolphins that had become stranded on Tarmon beach in Blacksod. 

Mayo IWDG explained on their social media that the dolphins were a family group of 13 individuals, mainly mothers and calves and a big male. Unfortunately, three died before they could be helped.

With the tide still dropping it was decided to move the pod by road to the slip at Blacksod - two kilometres away - where they could continue to receive care in deeper water.

Mayo IWDG explained: “The new IWDG wheeled dolphin stretcher ferried the larger dolphins across the beach to an awaiting horse-box and the juveniles were moved via large beach towels in tandem with their mothers.

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The dolphins were stranded

The dolphins were stranded

The dolphins were stranded

“All mother and calf pairs were lined up semi submerged on banks of seaweed on the shoreline beside Blacksod slip and continued to receive care until the rest of the pod arrived by road.

“Once all dolphins had spent time being supported in the water by everyone and one made a dash for freedom, the rest of the group were released.

“The juveniles were calling to the adults. All swam upright unassisted into deeper water quickly and none rolled or bellied up, which can often happen to dolphins who have live stranded.

“As of 21:00 , the group had left the area and couldn’t be found. Fingers crossed they make it.'

Mayo IWDG said that Tarmon and the surrounding beaches on the east side of the mullet peninsula are notorious for common dolphins live stranding due to the topography of the beaches.

They explained: “The beaches are large flat expanses so during spring tides especially, the water can level can drop uniformly and recede up to 1km in parts. Common dolphins being an offshore dolphin species often get caught out on such difficult to navigate shallow terrain.

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“When a dolphin live strands it puts immense pressure on their bodies, they can become very disorientated and have muscle spasm from the stranding event making it difficult to swim, which is why this group were given recovery time at Blacksod before being released.

“Thanks again to everyone who helped out. It was so humbling to see everyone work together to get this pod back to the sea.

“If anyone would like to become involved with the IWDG stranding network please drop us a message.”

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