Marine experts fear at least one whale found washed up this week in Donegal may have died due to Russian war games.
Now an urgent post-mortem is being planned after the strangely “deflated” female was discovered at Maghery in west Donegal on Wednesday.
A second sperm whale had earlier been found dead at Malin Head on the county’s north coast.
A specialist vet who examined initial pictures of the Maghery incident told of the mammal “looking really, really odd.”
One investigator told The Irish Sun the carcass looked as if internal organs had “liquified.”
She added that stranded whales are typically male yet in both cases this week the mammals are female.
The whales washed ashore after Russian military exercises were held some 200 miles off the southwest coast.
Vladimir Putin’s navy launched the controversial manoeuvres earlier this month despite concern for marine life.
Tracking sonar blasted into the depths by submarines and ships can spark at times fatal evasive action as the deep-diving mammals surface too fast.
Stephanie Levesque, Strandings Officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, said: “We can’t rule anything out at this point.”
She said the charity would always seek post-mortems on stranded whales but “the fact that there was that activity with the Russians, well we are extra keen to try and get this properly examined.”
Yet Storm Eunice has stalled plans to get vets working on either of the carcases.
Ms Levesque said: “We would have to look inside to really know, but even then it might be Monday because of the weather situation.
“We sent the photos to one of the regional vets and she said that the whale at Maghery looks really, really odd. It looks to me like the insides were liquified.
“To my untrained eye, I thought it might be that it’s been at sea for a long time but the vet’s trained eye found it odd.
“It doesn’t look as if the body cavity is open anywhere.
“Sometimes at sea scavengers will create openings and organs will come out and the animal will wash up kind of empty.
“But in this case it doesn’t look like there is any opening. It’s very odd.”
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