Man saves stranded whales left to die

A fed-up whale watcher has rescued two pilot whales which had been left to die on a Co Donegal beach.

The two Pilot whales were part of the pod of 13 which had beached at Ballyness Bay in Falcarragh.

The whales had been rescued twice after first being spotted on Monday morning by a passing jogger.

However, seven of the whales beached again on Monday afternoon at 5pm.

A decision was made by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to leave the whales to die on the beach and then bury them.

Passersby were left visibly upset as the whales struggled on the sand.

The NPWS warned people not to touch the animals and gardaí had advised people not to visit the beach.

However, Gareth Doherty, owner of a local sailing company and involved in the original rescue, decided he could not stand by and watch. He gathered other volunteers and arrived at the beach in the early hours of yesterday morning. By this time the whales had been stranded for 36 hours.

Aided by the high tide around 4am, Gareth and others managed to put two whales back out to sea.

Two others, which are in a much poorer condition, are still on the beach.

Gareth said: “We could not just stand by and watch these animals suffer anymore.”


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