Baby minke whale found dead near Limavady

The mInke whale washed ashore Image copyright doe

A whale, thought to be a three month old minke whale, has washed up on the Lough Foyle in Myroe near Limavady.

It was discovered by people walking along the beach on Friday.

It was encouraged back into the sea by the Loughs Agency on Friday but it washed up on Tuesday due to its emaciated condition.

The dead whale has been removed from the site by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Loughs Agency.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment (DOE) said: "We assessed the situation and noted that the animal was an unweaned calf about three months old and apparently separated from its mother.

"The calf was severely malnourished and had suffered extensive injuries during its several standings.

"The animal's carcass has now been removed from the shore by council.

"DOE Marine Division staff have been able to recover some bone material for scientific and educational use.

"Minke whales are the most common whales in Irish waters, with young animals born mid-winter.

"They are not weaned until six months old and remain with the mother for up to three years to learn essential social and foraging skills.

"Despite local enquiries about any link with the pilot whale stranding event in Scotland, this is an isolated incident with no correlation."

'Lost its mother'

Richard Gillen, the countryside officer for Causeway Coast and Glens District Council, said: "The water is shallow in that part of Myroe so I can see how it happened.

"There are baby whales out there in the water along the north coast, but this one seemed to like the Myroe and Magilligan area.

"It really wouldn't have survived."

A nine-metre (29ft) long minke whale was found dead at Magilligan Point in November 2013.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said the minke whale is Ireland's smallest and most commonly-recorded whale species.

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