Marching On Together

Marching On Together
I have had a romance with a lady since my childhood just like thousands of other people around the world who are also in love with her. I have remained in love with her through the many bad times and the few good times, my love for her has never faltered and never will. My lady's name is Leeds United and she is just five games away from returning to the English Football Premiership, after sixteen years in the football wilderness. In the sixties, seventies and early nineties my lady was known as "Super Leeds," however in 2003, my love was relegated from the English Football Premiership due to financial miss-handling by her owners. "Super Leeds," dropped down to the third tier of English football. If Leeds United can grab ten points from their last five games my lady will be back where she belongs in the higher echelons of English football and I can once more embrace my love with happiness.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Another record year for whale and dolphin deaths off the Irish coast leaves experts concerned

Photo credit: Jochen Duerr
A disturbing rise in whale and dolphin deaths is causing major concern for experts with recorded deaths up by a third compared with the last two years.
Up to and including 2010,  Irish Whale And Dolphin Group, (IWDG) never received more than 150 validated cetacean stranding reports in any one year but things started to change in 2011 when 163 strandings were validated and we thought that annual figures had reached a new high.
Little did we realise that 163 would soon become a 'quiet' year as annual figures continued to rise to a peak of 219 in 2013 with 212 in 2016 being the second highest annual total on record.
By 31 August 2016, 156 cetaceans had been received in that year but by the same date in 2017 IWDG had received 201 validated cetacean strandings - up to a massive 30% compared to the previous two 'record' years.
As in recent years, the numbers of dead common dolphins recorded are very high with 78 records for this species to the end of August 2017 accounting for 39% of all strandings.
In the last seven years, numbers of dead common dolphins washed ashore in late winter/spring have become unusually high.
Even in a series of years with particularly high numbers of this species stranding since 2011, 2017 is well ahead of the previous 2 'record' years by the end of August (66 in 2016 and 53 in 2013), These are, of course, minimum numbers as we don't know how many dead animals go unrecorded and also many unidentified dolphins which aren't identifiable to species level are likely to be common dolphins.
In the latter part of 2017, IWDG has been working with the Marine Institute, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Department of Agriculture on a post-mortem scheme for common dolphins, striped dolphins and harbour porpoises and we hope that this will start shedding light on what is causing the deaths of small cetaceans in Ireland.

Mick O'Connell, IWDG Strandings Co-ordinator

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