Scientists have already taken skin and tissue samples from the 33 pilot whales which were found dead off the coast of County Donegal. Environmentalists, on the other hand, are trying to establish how the whales beached on Rutland Island near Burtonport.
The numbers of whales were thought to be the same group spotted in the Outer Hebrides at the end of October.
According to Dr. Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, it was one of the biggest mass deaths of whales in Irish history. He is concerned that Royal Navy sonar equipment could have played a role. They had been in the area off South Uist and had moved away.
Furthermore he added: “Thirty or forty pilot whales were spotted off the Outer Hebrides at South Uist last week. It looked like they were going to strand. It was bad weather. They were not seen again.”
Campaigners were worried that the latest sonar equipment could have disturbed the navigation skills of this deep diving species of whales.
However, a spokeswoman from the Royal Navy claimed that when the whales were spotted near South Uist, the closest navy ship was 50 miles away. At that distance, there was no way that the sonar equipment could have affected the creatures.
The skin samples will be sent to the Irish Cetacean Genetic Tissue Bank at the Natural History Museum in Dublin.