Call for public to report porpoise finds

BEACH walkers were today urged to report any animals found dead or washed up on Felixstowe's shores to help the authorities monitor the wildlife in the North Sea.

BEACH walkers were today urged to report any animals found dead or washed up on Felixstowe's shores to help the authorities monitor the wildlife in the North Sea.

People visiting the shore at the weekend found a headless porpoise, but no-one reported the matter to the Coastguard.

Tony Wooderson, assistant co-ordinator with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue organisation, said it was essential all incidents of wildlife found on the beach were reported - and urged people not to ignore dead animals.

He said: “Ideally, a post mortem should have been carried out on this porpoise but I don't know if that will be possible now.


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“Quite a lot of information can be gathered from the animal as to how it died or whether it was carrying disease and so on.”

It was thought that a propeller on a ship could have decapitated the porpoise, which was found at Cobbold's Point near the slipway on the north side of the wishbone-shaped reef.

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However after seeing photos of the dead creature Mr Wooderson felt that the beheading was too clean a cut, and that it may have been done with a knife by someone freeing the creature after it was caught in fishing nets.

It was the second dead porpoise to have been washed up in the past fortnight - the other was found close to the Town Hall, and some others have been found recently in Norfolk.

Two years ago RSPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue spent an agonising afternoon with a stranded porpoise on Trimley Marshes on the banks of the River Orwell after the creature beached itself.

Although it had appeared in good condition despite being a little underweight, Mr Wooderson said a post mortem later showed that the animal was riddled with lungworm.

When a porpoise is reported to the Coastguard, officers contact the Natural History Museum, which arranges for tests and disposal in liaison with the Receiver of Wrecks.

Porpoises are possibly the shortest-lived cetacean and rarely live for longer than 12 years.

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