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


2009-02-12 16:00:11

Harbour Porpoise at Hayling Island

Stranded porpoise (photo: Buster from Hampshire Fire Brigade)On the afternoon of Thursday 12th February 2009 BDMLR medics were called out to a porpoise which had been seen swimming in shallow water at Langstone Harbour, Hayling Island, Hampshire. The tide goes out extremely quickly in the harbour and by the time medics arrived on the scene the 5ft long, female porpoise was already stranded on the mudflats. The porpoise stranded very close to the site of the 2006 Hayling Island porpoise stranding (the 2006 porpoise was thought to have stranded due to navigational error and the rescue was successful), so we initally hoped that the stranding circumstances were similar and that there was a chance of a positive outcome. However, as soon as we reached this porpoise it became obvious that it was malnourished, in very poor physical condition, and that it was exhibiting signs of stress. Medics immediately set about making the porpoise more comfortable and minimising its stress levels, but after consultation with Trevor and Sue at BDMLR HQ, who were also able to pass on our photos to Veterinary Advisor James Barnett, it was agreed that the porpoise was unsuitable for a re-float and that it would be euthanased. Unfortunately the porpoise's condition deteriorated very rapidly. It experienced a massive seizure and internal bleeding, and died before the vet arrived. A very sad end, but it happened quickly and the porpoise didn't suffer a long drawn-out death. The porpoise was taken for post-mortem by ZSL.

A huge thank you to all the Hampshire and Sussex medics that responded, especially AJ, Jayne, Liz, Rachel, Neil, Sarah, and Gordon (apologies if I missed anyone out!), - you were fantastic and worked brilliantly as a team. Thank you too to James Barnett, Trevor and Sue at HQ, Richard Edwards and Charlie at AlphaPet Vets, Buster from the Hampshire Fire Brigade, the Hampshire Police and Hampshire County Council wardens for their help and support.

Claire Stares
BDMLR Hampshire Coordinator