Both ourselves and British Divers Marine Life Rescue jointly responded to calls from the public around 5:45pm yesterday.
Initial reports were of a harbour porpoise in the shallow water trying to strand itself on the beach. I believe members of the public tried to stop the porpoise from stranding, but as the tide reached its lowest point the porpoise stranded.
Medics from British Divers Marine Life Rescue were the first on the scene and kept the porpoise upright and wet out of the surf till a team from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service arrived shortly afterwards.
Sadly the porpoise passed away on the beach.
The adult porpoise approximately 142cm in length was not in brilliant body condition, with a flat lumber muscle, meaning the porpoise had not been eating well. This may be as a result of injury or illness.
The porpoise’s body was removed from the beach and taken back to East Sussex WRAS’s Casualty Centre where the body is being collected by the UK Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme based at the Zoological Society of London.
Sadly cetaceans strand most frequently due to injury or disease. If anyone comes across a dolphin or porpoise in the water struggling or out of water on the beach, they should not attempt to re-float it back into the water. These creatures are mammals so they can breathe out of water. Often people make the mistake of holding them under water thinking they are fish, but this often causes them to drown. It is very easy for well meaning people to do the wrong thing, so we would urge anyone interested in knowing more about what they can do if they find a stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise to attend one of BDMLR’s marine mammal medic training courses.
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