Bunratty dolphins will die unless a rescue is attempted soon

The Bottlenose dolphins at Bunratty

AN ATTEMPT to rescue the three bottlenose dolphins who are trapped in shallow waters in Bunratty will be made later this week.
The dolphins, who are part of a school who normally live much farther down the Shannon Estuary, have been stranded in the fresh water areas for 10 days now, and could succumb to liver failure if they are not returned to salt water soon.
A rescue mission is likely to be conducted this Wednesday or Thursday, to coincide with low spring tide. The low tide will make it easier to catch the dolphins but it also increases the chances that the one or more of the animals might get beached in the shallow water.
According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), the dolphins currently appear relatively healthy. The animals have been creating quite a stir in Bunratty since they appeared on March 31, but there have also been reports of young people throwing stones and other missiles at them.
“In my opinion something will have to be tried this week. They are healthy at the moment but with the low tide coming on Wednesday, something will probably have to be tried,” said Simon Berrow of the IWDG.
“The longer this goes on the more stressed the animals will get. They are in fresh water and that is damaging their kidneys right now and it will also start to damage their skin as well.
“We have also heard reports of kids throwing stones at them when they get close to the shore and we would appeal to anyone who comes to visit the dolphins, not to engage in this sort of behavior.”
The dolphins were discovered on March 31, in murky water close to the old bridge over the Ratty River and Durty Nelly’s Pub.
The last time that dolphins became stranded in this area was in 1995, when Clare recorded one of its finest summers in recent memory. Some locals are hopeful that the return of the dolphins are a sign of a good summer ahead.
Hurling fans are also hopeful that the return of the dolphins to Bunratty may also be on omen suggesting a hurling season similar to what took place in 1995.


  1. Andy, what’s their status, and is there someone we can contact if we want to help? I may have friends in the area who’re qualified and equipped for this.


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