Second basking shark appears washed up off the Cork coast

Second basking shark appears washed up off the Cork coast

Another basking shark has washed up in West Cork, The juvenile shark, which is approximately 20ft long, washed up high on the rocks due to the full moon last night. The dead shark attracted onlookers throughout the morning. Picture: Andy Gibson.

A second basking shark has washed up on the rocks near Harbour View Beach, which is located just outside Courtmacsherry.

This latest shark which is approximately 20ft in length has appeared just days after another basking shark was found on Inchydoney Beach.

Basking sharks generally tend to feed off coastal waters between April and August every year.

Another basking shark has washed up in West Cork, The juvenile shark, which is approximately 20ft long, washed up high on the rocks due to the full moon last night. The dead shark attracted onlookers throughout the morning. Picture: Andy Gibson.
Another basking shark has washed up in West Cork, The juvenile shark, which is approximately 20ft long, washed up high on the rocks due to the full moon last night. The dead shark attracted onlookers throughout the morning. Picture: Andy Gibson.

Speaking on The Opinion Line with PJ Coogan this morning, Haley Dolton, a PhD student at the Department of Zoology in Trinity College, said the appearance of two basking sharks on the coast of Cork in recent days was very unusual. 

“It is increasingly rare to have two animals wash up in that condition in such a short amount of time. 

"We will be collecting all the data from both animals to try and see if there are any patterns emerging. We will do our best to work out what is going on,” she said.

Another basking shark has washed up in West Cork, The juvenile shark, which is approximately 20ft long, washed up high on the rocks due to the full moon last night. PHD graduate in Shellfish, Kate O'Mahony, spent time taking pictures and recording details of the dead shark. Picture: Andy Gibson.
Another basking shark has washed up in West Cork, The juvenile shark, which is approximately 20ft long, washed up high on the rocks due to the full moon last night. PHD graduate in Shellfish, Kate O'Mahony, spent time taking pictures and recording details of the dead shark. Picture: Andy Gibson.

Ms Dolton who specifically undertakes research on basking sharks said the remains of the two basking sharks will help them to protect other basking sharks. 

“These are incredible animals. When we have these sad events it is an important opportunity to learn more about them. 

"Without this knowledge, it is hard to protect them. To have two of them wash up in the condition they were in is so unusual. We are trying to learn as much about them as possible.

“Despite their size, they are completely harmless. They feed on tiny microscopic animals. Their mouths are wide but their throats are relatively small. They are an incredibly impressive animal. They tend to stick to temperate waters. We tend to see them at the surface during warm and calm weather,” she added.

Another basking shark has washed up in West Cork, The juvenile shark, which is approximately 20ft long, washed up high on the rocks due to the full moon last night. PHD graduate in Shellfish, Kate O'Mahony, spent time taking pictures and recording details of the dead shark. Picture: Andy Gibson.
Another basking shark has washed up in West Cork, The juvenile shark, which is approximately 20ft long, washed up high on the rocks due to the full moon last night. PHD graduate in Shellfish, Kate O'Mahony, spent time taking pictures and recording details of the dead shark. Picture: Andy Gibson.

The PhD student said they have still to determine the cause of death of the two basking sharks. 

“We have already done a post mortem on one of the sharks and we will have the second post mortem completed today. 

"We are just collecting more knowledge on their internal workings by looking at their anatomy. We are just collecting all the data at the minute and trying to put together a picture of what might have happened.

“The biggest danger to them is always man. In terms of animal predators, I don’t think there has been anything documented. The only animal which might prey on a basking shark is orcas,” she said.

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