Dead dolphins and porpoises washing up on Dorset beaches

Dead dolphins and porpoises washing up on Dorset beaches

Published by Maria Greenwood at 8:08am 14th January 2020.

Dorset Wildlife Trust say they have been made aware of reports of a number of dead dolphins and porpoises being washed up on Dorset beaches this winter.

Remains have been found at Chesil Cove and Stair Hole over the last few days.

Dorset Wildlife Trust say they've been getting information about sightings since November.

They say they are more common at this time of year due to stronger winds, bigger swells and larger waves making it more likely for carcasses to be washed ashore.

The Trust say it's important that these are reported as soon as possible to enable organisations to assess and record the carcass before it decomposes.  

DWT's Chesil Centre Officer, Sarah Hodgson said:

"There are many reasons that could cause these animals to die, either simply due to natural causes or as a result of human activity such as by-catch from commercial fisheries, entanglement from ghost fishing-gear or pollution. 

"However, without in-depth examinations we can only speculate."

The strandings have been either Common Dolphins or Harbour Porpoises but a rare White-beaked Dolphin, measuring over 9 feet in length, was recently discovered at Hallelujah Bay on Portland.  

White-beaked dolphin by Sarah Hodgson
White-beaked dolphin by Sarah Hodgson

Sarah said:

"Whilst it is unusual to see a White-beaked Dolphin, we are aware that there is a small population of these dolphins which are resident in Lyme Bay.  

"We have passed details and photos to MARINElife who have been researching this local population".

'What to do if you see a dead dolphin' 

  • Dorset Wildlife Trust encourages anyone who finds a marine mammal washed up to report it as soon as possible by calling 01305 264620 or emailing kimmeridge@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.
  • It is helpful if you can include a photograph of the animal but not to touch it as they can carry diseases.