This breathtaking drone footage of four Humpback Whales interacting with a pod of Short-beaked Common Dolphins was captured off the coast of West Cork in late April by researchers from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
The footage is part of an exciting new project called Whale Track Ireland, initiated by the IWDG thanks to funding from Ryanair customers. The project aims to establish how large baleen whales like Humpback Whales and Fin Whales are using Irish waters, what condition they are in when they arrive here, and, crucially, where they go when they leave. Drone footage, as featured above, is being used by researchers on the project to collect biometric data that will help them asses the age and condition of the whales. Combined with biopsy samples, sightings data, photo-ID records, and potentially satellite tagging of a small number of individuals, the project will help inform conservation efforts for these iconic marine mammals.
Doctor Simon Berrow, founder-member and Chief Executive Officer of the IWDG explains a little about the project in the video below.
You can find out more about the project on the Whale Track Ireland pages on the IWDG website.
As mentioned in the video, Ireland is one of the best places in Europe to see these iconic marine mammals in the wild — at sea and, perhaps surprisingly, even from the shore if conditions are right. If you’d like to get out in search of marine giants, there’s no better location than the coast of West Cork. Here at Ireland’s Wildlife, we partner with Ireland’s most experienced whale watching skipper, Colin Barnes of Cork Whale Watch, to deliver marine wildlife boat-trips on all of our tours. The footage above was filmed by an IWDG researcher aboard the Cork Whale Watch vessel, The Holly Jo in late April 2019.
If you’re in the area and would like to get out in search of north Atlantic giants we’d highly recommend a trip with Colin. If you’d like to combine whale-watching with a longer birding and wildlife experience, take a look at our Discover Wildlife Weekend short breaks, or our longer 6-day Ireland’s Wild South Coast wildlife holiday.