A white-beaked dolphin was found stranded on a beach in St Mawes on Saturday 16th January. The 2.4 metre long dolphin was initially reported to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network as a porpoise. However, when Jan Loveridge, the Network’s Co-ordinator, received photos of the animal she discovered it was a dolphin that is very rarely seen in Cornwall.
Dawn Andrews, a member of the public who reported the rare dolphin to the Network’s Hotline, says “Although it is sad to see a dead dolphin, it did give our children an opportunity to examine this beautiful creature close up. They were fascinated by the blow hole and its small, blunt teeth, and particularly by the smoothness of its skin.” Twelve year old Josh Croft was another youngster who witnessed the stranded dolphin and was able to take some excellent photos, which he has given to the Marine Strandings Network for their archives.
“This is one of only nine stranded, white-beaked dolphins ever reported in Cornwall” says Jan Loveridge, “We’re very pleased that so many people in St Mawes took the trouble to report it to us and it was great that the children took such an interest. There’s nothing quite the same as seeing a dolphin close-up, although if a dead marine animal is found, it is advisable not to touch it as it could be carrying diseases that humans can catch.” The hope is that, although witnessing such a scene can be distressing, may also inspire the public’s interest to help conserve marine wildlife