Lonely Planet Writer

Dopey Dick, Derry's killer whale, found alive 39 years later in Scotland

A killer whale who became the centre of attention nearly four decades ago when it swam up a river into an Irish city has been found still alive off the west coast of Scotland.

Dopey Dick is part of a killer whale community now living off the coast of Scotland
Dopey Dick is part of a killer whale community now living off the coast of Scotland Image by Pavel Lunkin / CC BY 2.0

Nicknamed ‘Dopey Dick’ after foolishly chasing salmon stocks up the River Foyle into Derry in 1977, the huge mammal has been identified by experts living with a pod of whales close to the Isle of Skye. It is estimated that he is now more than 58 years old and the identification was made when photos of him 39 years ago and more recent ones taken two years ago were compared.

These whales are considered to be a vulnerable community in Britain and consequently are tracked by experts. According to the Belfast Telegraph, Andy Foote, an expert in the species, said that when he looked at the photos he saw the same white eye patch which is very distinctive. Mr Foote said he couldn’t believe it when he realised that Dopey Dick was a full grown male in 1977 when he himself was a five year old.