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Dr Simon Berrow, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group
"We talk about weather patterns changing and there seem to be changes in animal distribution as well"
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Thursday, 9 November, 2000, 09:47 GMT
Global warming threat to dolphins
Striped dolphin
More and more striped dolphins are being stranded
Global warming has been blamed for the increasing number of dolphins found stranded on beaches in Ireland.

Warm water species of dolphin which were rarely sighted in the Irish Sea and north Atlantic, have been turning up with increasing frequency, according to experts.

The appearance of striped dolphins has paralleled the increasing prevalence of fish species normally only found further south.


There does seem to be a real increase in these warm water species off the Irish coast

Dr Simon Berrow
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said a striped dolphin was recently found washed up, the fifth of the species recorded over the past six weeks.

Group chairman, Dr Simon Berrow said: "We've been aware of this for a few years now where striped dolphins, which are very similar to the common dolphin and which are quite common off the Irish coast, have been turning up with increasing frequency, both off the Irish coast and even as far as the Faroes.

"This parallels an increase in fish species that would normally be found further south.

"There does seem to be a real increase in these warm water species off the Irish coast."

Dr Berrow said striped dolphins had become the third most stranded species on Irish beaches for the second year in a row.

Accurate measure

"We talk about weather patterns changing and there seem to be changes in animal distribution as well."

Dr Berrow said stranding records could not be relied on as an accurate measure of dolphin distribution.

However, he said: "Because the increase in striped dolphins has been so dramatic over the last 10 or 15 years...we can be quite clear from the stranding records that there is definitely an increase and this is not just a consequence of increased recording effort or increased disease, for example."

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