Pregnant orca beaches in Ireland

This is an orca video.

From Wildlife Extra:

Pregnant Killer whale strands in Ireland

18/10/2010 11:25:32

Killer whale calves very unusual in Irish waters

October 2010. A Killer whale that stranded in Tullaghan Bay, Co. Mayo, at the beginning of October was only the 15th stranding recorded of this species in Ireland since records began and the 7th in 40 years.

Conor Ryan of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, (IWDG & GMIT) and Alessandro Pierini of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) carried out a post mortem examination on the carcass. Skin, blubber and muscle samples were taken for genetic, pollutants and stable isotope analyses. Given that the carcass was not badly decomposed, the decision was made to examine the stomach contents – a rare opportunity to take a look at the diet of a killer whale from these waters. There were fish remains and unidentified bones in the stomach and no plastic or litter.


When the abdominal cavity was opened, we found a large, near-term foetus of 2.09m (newborn calves are believed to be 2.5m long). It was a female, and was fully formed with large teeth and visible white eye-patches. The dorsal fin and tail flukes were soft; to aid in delivery they usually stiffen soon after birth. Samples were also taken from this specimen which will be particularly useful to geneticists, as mother-calf samples are used to test the accuracy of parentage assignment techniques using DNA.

No recent recording of live calves off Ireland

It is a pity to find a double mortality of this kind, given that calves have not been recorded alive in Irish waters in recent times and there is much concern over the health of this population. Of the seven most recent Killer whale strandings, three have been of neonate calves or pregnant females. The cause of death of this animal was not obvious. The orientation of the calf in the birth sac was atypical – it would have been delivered head-first which is very rare in cetaceans and can be fatal given their need to breathe air immediately after birth.

Unfortunately, the skull and jaw bones were defaced by someone using an electric saw. This meant that the skull or complete skeleton could not be prepared for display purposes (which can be a nice tourist attraction). As such, a pectoral fin was removed for display in the Natural History Museum in Dublin.

Courtesy of Conor Ryan & Alessandro Pierini, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group & Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

Will Dutch orca Morgan return to the sea? Here.

1 thought on “Pregnant orca beaches in Ireland

  1. Pingback: Irish bottlenose dolphin saved | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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