Warning after porpoise stranded on Chapel St Leonards beach dies during rescue attempt

Members of the public are being asked not to try to move any sea creatures after a stranded porpoise died in a rescue attempt.

This porpoise sadly died after being stranded on the beach. Photo: Ed Martin.
This porpoise sadly died after being stranded on the beach. Photo: Ed Martin.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) , supported by RNLI Skegness, faced rough seas were they were called to help a stranded porpoise on the beach at Chapel St Leonards.

Following an initial assessment from Marine Mammal Medic volunteers, the team determined the animal was a juvenile female with no visible signs of trauma or injury and an attempt to refloat her back out to sea.

Unfortunately, within a few minutes of being in the water, the sea became rougher, with waves bashing the Medics and the porpoise and pushing them closer to shore.

It became clear that the usual refloat method was not going to work and the RNLI were called for further assistance.

The swell continued to increase and RNLI Skegness had to battle through severe conditions to reach the scene. When they arrived, the porpoise was lifted safely onto their inshore lifeboat and they headed out to sea.

She was then gently lowered over the side of the boat into the sea where she was refloated successfully and appeared to swim off strongly.

However, the weather again drastically changed making it far too dangerous for the lifeboat to return to the shore, so a rapid beach landing was performed instead in Skegness.

A statement from the BDMLR praises the bravery of Skegness RNLI in their efforts to save the porpoise: "Devastatingly, the team’s return to Chapel St Leonards, there was another callout to a stranded porpoise, to which they promptly responded and began searching for along the coast. Sadly, the same animal had re-stranded 3 miles away at Ingoldmells.

"This time, she had suffered extensive injuries as unfortunately well-meaning members of the public had dragged her off the rocks where they had found her in attempt to get her back into the water.

"The poor weather persisted and it was clear that refloating her was going to prove very difficult, and there would be no guarantee that she would even survive the attempt, especially as the first try had appeared to fail even before she had acquired these new injuries.

"Veterinary assistance was requested, and she was eventually transported to a veterinary practice where she was peacefully euthanised at 9:22pm.

"It was not the ending any of us were hoping for after such a long and arduous day, but we wanted to send a very special thank you to our Medics involved for their incredible effort and dedication, and also to the outstanding bravery of RNLI Skegness for attending in such dangerous conditions."

Anyone finding a stranded porpoise, dolphin or whale, is asked not touch or move them. Call the emergency rescue line on 01825 765546