Norfolk

Sea Palling: Dead porpoise washes up on beach

The porpoise found washed up dead on Sea Palling beach Image copyright HM Coastguard Bacton
Image caption The 4.5ft (1.37m) porpoise was found near the lifeboat station on Sea Palling beach

A porpoise has been found dead on a beach in Norfolk.

The 4.5ft (1.37m) mammal washed up near the lifeboat station on Sea Palling beach and was discovered on Sunday lunchtime.

A team from Bacton Coastguard took photographs and measurements of the animal to send to researchers in London studying the UK's porpoise population.

A coastguard spokesman said it was the second porpoise found on that stretch of coastline this year.

Pete Revell said it had no visible injuries or signs that it had been attacked by a predator.

"It was in really good condition. We often find them where they have been hit by a boat or are in a state of decomposition but I should think it had died within the last 12 hours," he said.

Dr Ben Garrod, an evolutionary biologist from Norfolk, said about 1,000 porpoises, whales and dolphins washed up on UK shores every year.

The waters off the Norfolk coast were ideal for porpoises, with little shipping activity, few predators and rich stocks of fish, he said.

"It could have choked on fish, it could have had an infection - we just don't know without a post-mortem examination," he said.

The Zoological Society of London is leading a project to track the number of cetaceans - whales, dolphins and porpoises - stranded on UK shores.

"If this porpoise is in a healthy state it might be more interesting to the researchers," said Dr Garrod.

"That's why if people see dolphins, porpoises or whales they should contact the coastguard as they'll be contributing to an important piece of research."

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