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A killer whale has been spotted off Slea Head.

A Killer Whale photographed by Richard Creagh

The Orca was photographed by Richard Creagh who’s working as a guide with the Blasket Islands’ Eco Marine Tours.

The animal was first spotted off Slea Head – after tracking it from land, Nick Massett of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group was able to surmise its location in the Blasket Sound.

Orcas aren’t encountered very often in Irish waters and Skipper Mick Sheeran was able to get within a reasonable distance of the mammal.

The killer whale was identified as W01 ‘John Coe’, of the Scottish West Coast Community Group.

John Coe is perhaps one of the best known killer whales in the British Isles, having been first photographed by Peter Evans, SeaWatch Foundation 33 years ago off the Scottish Hebrides.

He was of adult age even back then, and as with other members of his remnan sub-pod of eight adults.

Today there are concerns for the future survival of this pod whose territory extends into Irish waters. One major concern is that it is many years since there has been any new additions to this group, and zero recruitment means that this group may ultimately die off.

IWDG first confirmed John Coe in Irish waters on the 10th Sept 2004 off Rathlin O’ Beirne Island, Donegal and there have been subsequent re-sightings off Mayo, Galway, Cork, Down and Antrim.

John Coe was last spotted off the Blasket Islands in 2012.