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Porpoise washed ashore at St Bees


Photo: The National Trust
Yesterday (Thursday 24th October) members of the public reported one, or possibly two, beached cetaceans at St Bees beach.  Upon investigation by those in attendance, it was realised that there was only one animal and it had been moved by the tide. Unfortunately it was dead, and possibly had been for some time and it was likely that the sea had washed the carcass ashore.

The stranding has been reported the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP).  CSIP has been running since 1990 and is funded by Defra and the Devolved Administrations.

CSIP coordinate the investigation of all whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans), marine turtles and basking sharks that strand around the UK coastline.   As well as documenting each individual stranding, they also retrieve a proportion for investigation at post-mortem to allow them to establish a cause of death.

Strandings that undergo post-mortem examination provide valuable information on causes of death, disease, contaminants, reproductive patterns, diet and also useful pointers to the general health of the populations living in the seas around our coasts.  This provides useful baseline data to help detect outbreaks of disease or unusual increases in mortality. The CSIP depends on the public’s help in the reporting of strandings around the UK.

Copeland Borough Council have also been notified of the stranding,  as they may have to remove or dispose of the body.

A spokesperson from the National Trust, who initially investigated the stranding  said:
This was an adult harbour porpoise, probably a female.  We are unsure of the cause of death.  There were a lot of injuries to the face/beak but these could have occurred after death in the sea or on land.  There were marks around the tail which could have been inflicted by a boat but, again, we have no way of telling if this was pre or post death.




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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Porpoise washed ashore at St Bees
Porpoise washed ashore at St Bees
Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland
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