A group of surfers repeatedly attempted to refloat a live stranded dolphin on a popular beach in Co Clare this morning however the mammal was later found dead in a nearby river.
The live stranding was reported at around 10am at Lahinch in North Clare by a group of people were taking surfing lessons.
The surfers attempted to coax the mammal out beyond the waves in the hope it would swim away again. However, their repeated efforts and those of a local conservation group, were in vain.
Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) also attempted to refloat the striped dolphin several times.
He said: “We got a call about a live stranded dolphin at Lahinch and made our way to the area. We found a striped dolphin, quite a large animal, obviously in distress. We tried to push it out again (to sea) but it was very weak.”
A live stranding is when a living animal that comes ashore and is unable to return to the sea however, why cetaceans live strand remains a mystery, and even after investigation it is not always definitively possible to determine the reason behind it.
Some causes of live strandings may be due to natural reasons, often because a mammal is ill or injured.
After it was thought the dolphin had returned to sea, Dr Berrow and another member of the IWDG were called back to Lahinch later in the afternoon following further reports that the dolphin had stranded again.
It’s believed the dolphin swam or was carried parallel to the beach by the incoming tide and attempted to swim upriver where it finally succumbed and died on the water’s edge.
Dr Berrow praised the young surfers for their efforts.
“The surfers did their best and we thank them for trying but sometimes a dolphin will live strand themselves. They did the right thing by reporting it. Sometimes we can help but if a dolphin is either too ill, weak or injured and they live strand, there’s very little you can do,” he said.
The dolphin was later recovered from the water and removed for further examination.