Saturday, 8 December 2012

Humpback whales creating stir off Ireland

It could almost be saying "I'm behind you", but humpback whales aren't known for pranking boatloads of whale watchers.

The mammals have been creating a stir off Baltimore in west Cork in the Irish Republic for the last two weeks as they feed on shoals of sprat and herring.

There are five animals in the humpback group and they have been getting a lot of attention, with reports in Ireland's national newspapers and segments on the state broadcaster RTE.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have been monitoring the group and believe that four of them have visited the same waters off west Cork in the past, some as recently as 2008.

"It is known from the western Atlantic that humpback whales form stable social associations with other whales on the feeding grounds, so this is not just a coincidence," the IWDG website said.

People have been getting up close to the denizens of the deep, which were once hunted to the brink of extinction, on boat trips from local harbours.

Simon Duggan is a local photographer and went out with friends to see what they could capture.

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