THE COMPLETELY intact skeleton of a dolphin was discovered washed up on Irish shores yesterday afternoon.
The bones, around 2 metres in length and believed to be the skeleton of a Common Dolphin, were found on Bantry Bay in West Cork.
A spokesperson for Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve in Cork shared the image with followers on their official Twitter page, marvelling at how clean the bones were.
The skeleton was likely "picked clean by birds, waves and weather", the account holder wrote.
— Glengarriff Woods NR (@GlengarriffWood) August 18, 2020
Dolphins are quite common in Irish seas, and dolphin-watching has become a hugely popular tourist attraction for both visitors from overseas and people from the area.
Ireland's most famous dolphin, Fungie the Bottlenose who is also known as the 'Dingle Dolphin', is estimated to draw 100,000 - 200,000 visitors a year; the famously friendly dolphin was said to have been missing human company during lockdown, but the visits have now recommenced, much to his delight.
Apart from the Common Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphins, Ireland is home to a multitude of other species, including the White-beaked dolphin, Striped Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin and Atlantic White Sided Dolphin.
Unfortunately for this Common Dolphin, it reached the end of its long lifespan, but its remains are in good hands.
Glengariff Woods Nature Reserve, as part of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of Ireland, often make educational visits to schools to discuss the wildlife and ecology kids can find on their doorsteps.
To spark an interest, the team often bring skulls, skeletons or stuffed animals into the classroom.
It's likely many of the schoolchildren will have visited Fungie before, but this would certainly be a different dolphin experience!
To learn more about Glengarriff Nature Reserve and the work they do, you can visit their website here.
And for regular updates from the team, including the ongoing re-introduction of White-tailed Sea Eagles, you can check out the Twitter page here.