British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2005-07-28 14:00:30

Eastbourne Porpoise Stranding

Date: Wednesday 27th July 2005
Location: On beach directly south of Bandstand on Eastbourne seafront, west of Eastbourne Pier
Grid Ref: TV 61699871
Time Reported: 10.30am

Call came into Trevor Weeks on East Sussex Wildlife Rescue’s rescue phone line via cleaning contractors on Eastbourne Seafront. They reported seeing a baby whale on the beach. They were asked to keep people away and wait for medics to arrive. BDMLR were informed.

Alec Anscombe was the first medic on site and positioned the porpoise and kept it wet. When he arrived they were holding the animal under water and had been doing so for a short period of time.

BDMLR medics Trevor Weeks, Steven Marsh, David Clark, Kay Wright, Alison Beaden, Robert Bliss and Andy Tilney arrived shortly after.

The porpoise was measure and recorded as 90cm in length. The sex was thought to be male, but in such a young porpoise questions were raises as to whether you would be able to see the mammary slits if a female. There were signs that an umbilicus had been present until recently. On checking the mouth lingual papillae were found measuring 2-3mm in length.

Trevor Weeks took on the role of Beach Master. Andy and Alison helped close the beach and keep people aware. Andy and Trevor jointly dealt with the media.

An air bed was pumped up and the porpoise place on the bed. A sheet was used to keep it wet and KY jelly used on the head and eyes.

After speaking with Alan Knight at BDMLR HQ, it was confirmed that this animal was dependent on its mum. A search of the area was organised by Eastbourne Lifeguards using their rescue boat. Stephen Marsh jumped on board the boat to help look for mum. Dover Coastguard were also informed. Eastbourne Lifeboat were called to assist and the Birling Gap Safety Boat called out to help with the search of the area.

Trevor spoke to members of the public which had gathered on the bandstand to watch. Approximately 70-100 people started watching. They were kept informed through the incident.

Veterinary Surgeon Phillip Peer from St Annes Veterinary Centre attended on site. He took some blood but had difficulty as the veins and animal were so small. A small quantity of blood was taken and has now been sent off.

Unfortunately at approximately 12.30pm the porpoise started showing signs of distress. The breath rate increased, the heart rate increased and the gum colour started going blue. Everyone decided that it would be kindly to call it a day and euthanasied the animal to prevent any further suffering.

The body was removed from the site and take to BDMLR’s office for collection and delivery to the London for a PM.

Trevor Weeks

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