CLARE dog warden Frankie Coote is currently storing the arm of what appears to be a gorilla or chimpanzee in a freezer, as he seeks to establish for certain the precise origin of the limb.
Kilrush gardaí were contacted last week, when a member of the public found the arm on the shoreline in Kilkee. However, while Mr Coote said the find is “unusual”, he has experience of coming across exotic animals in his line of work.
“I got a call a few years ago from the cattle mart in Scariff, where a giraffe had come in. It turned out it belonged to a circus and it had strayed away. I’ve seen elephants around too. The unusual fact about this is that the limb found in Kilkee is not native here. It’s all guesswork for me,” he said.
“We’re appealing that somebody would come forward with a view to establishing what it is and where it came from. Kilrush gardaí rang me last Friday. A member of the public found it and the gardaí removed it. They did tests to establish if it was human and once they realised it was an animal, they contacted me to know would I dispose of it.
“I can’t tell what it is, other than I googled the photograph and it appears that it’s one of the bigger primates. It’s the same length as my own arm exactly and it’s definitely a large gorilla or chimpanzee. We don’t think it’s from Kilkee or Ireland.
“The ocean is a big place. The full animal could have fallen in and decomposed and parts of it come in to different places,” he speculated.
“It still has pieces of flesh on it, so it hasn’t been in there for years either, although the salt water would hold it,” Mr Coote observed.
He can keep the mystery arm for at least a month.
“I have it in a freezer and I can keep it for the month. I’d be dealing with roadkill fairly often.
“For example, if it was someone’s cat and it was microchipped, I’d have to keep it for a week or two. So I have a freezer for that reason but not at home. It’s in the depot.
“My wife wouldn’t allow me have it at home,” Mr Coote stressed, as the search for how and why the animal part washed up in Kilkee remains unsolved.