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Dead porpoise found on Suffolk beach

PUBLISHED: 03:17 08 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:08 03 March 2010

A DEAD porpoise found washed up on a Suffolk beach could be sent to the Natural History Museum for a post mortem examination.

The creature, a harbour porpoise, was found at Felixstowe and was taken to the Landguard wildlife centre by local Suffolk Wildlife Trust ranger, Malte Iden.

A DEAD porpoise found washed up on a Suffolk beach could be sent to the Natural History Museum for a post mortem examination.

The creature, a harbour porpoise, was found at Felixstowe and was taken to the Landguard wildlife centre by local Suffolk Wildlife Trust ranger, Malte Iden.

It had part of a fin missing and various cuts and is thought to have died after colliding with a boat, possibly its propeller.

The harbour porpoise is an endangered species and it is very unusual for one of the creatures to be washed ashore.

The species is thought to be suffering in the southern North Sea as a result of over-fishing by commercial boats.

Many porpoises are accidentally killed each year around the UK coast, caught in fishing nets.

Julian Roughton, Suffolk Wildlife Trust director, said there were only a handful of sightings of porpoises along the Suffolk coast each year.

"They are in decline mainly because of over-fishing. Their prey is no longer there," he said.

Mr Roughton said a study in the Irish Sea had suggested that 6% of porpoises died each year after being accidentally caught in fishing nets.

"It is very sad to find one dead as the result of an apparent collision with a boat," he added.

Martin Sanford, director of the Suffolk Biological Record Centre, based at Ipswich Museum, said he had only a handful of records of porpoise sightings off the county's coastline.

"They don't usually come into shallow waters. They are a deep water species," he said.

Mr Sanford said the species was on the Government biodiversity action plan list but it was difficult to know how to help the creatures, apart from allowing fish stocks to revive.

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