Wildlife rescue volunteers were called to reports of a porpoise stranded on the beach at Normans Bay yesterday (Saturday, April 23).
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) contacted the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) to request help with the stranded porpoise.
Kathy Martyn and Trevor Weeks MBE drove to the Casualty Centre to load up with rescue equipment, while rescue manager Chris Riddington drove to the scene in advance.
Together with Stephen Marsh, operation manager at BDMLR, the group moved the porpoise into the water and held it securely without allowing it to go under the water too much. Although they look like fish, porpoises are cetaceans, which are mammals so need to breathe air, and so would drown if they are held under the water.
Trevor Weeks MBE, founder of East Sussex WRAS, said: “I arrived on site as they were bringing the porpoise out of the water. The creature’s lumber muscle was quite concave, which indicates the porpoise had lost body condition over time and hadn’t been eating.
“She wasn’t very big either, just over a metre in length. They can grow up to two metres. On the tongue you could see the remains of Lingual Papillae, which are used to help suckle from their mums. Although not a baby, this was a young porpoise but not dependent on its mum still.
“It is going to be very difficult to know why she was so weak and stranded. Because of how weak, underweight and lethargic the porpoise was, everyone was in agreement that the porpoise should be put to sleep.
“Sadly there are no facilities in the UK for rehabilitation of cetaceans, primarily because of how expensive they are to run, costing millions of pounds, and the infrequency of stranding incidents would make it very difficult to locate such a facility where it would get used enough and have quick enough access to.”
WRAS also took in two injured fox cubs over the week. One had been found wandering around in Bexhill and another was from a vets in the town after being hit by a car last night (Saturday).
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