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PHOTOS: Baby dolphin and its mum dead in mass stranding

PHOTOS: Baby dolphin and its mum dead in mass stranding

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 3:22pm 17th September 2018. (Updated at 8:45pm 17th September 2018)

A mum and her baby are among three dolphins who died in a mass stranding on Godrevy beach.

A pod of 11 dolphins were stranded at 7.30am this morning.

Two members of the public were able to help eight of the dolphins back into the sea when they were stranded at low tide.

But two females and a calf didn't make it.

There were several small calves in the pod.

It's thought to be the biggest stranding of dolphins in Cornwall in the last ten years.

Mum and baby among three dolphin's dead in mass stranding on Godrevy.

"The three dolphins that died were dead when we arrived.

"It's not often that this happens, not like this, it's exceptionally unusual that this many would be stranded at any one time.

"What's most likely happened is the calf or the mum were sick and because of the strong emotional bond that's between common dolphins the rest of the pod likely swum to shore in a bid to help and then got stranded themselves even though health wise there was nothing wrong with them originally.

It's thought the mum or calf could have been seriously ill before they were stranded. 

"Definitely scary for them, it's a very alien environment.

"Common dolphins are an offshore species with very strong social bonds, they struggle on their own and much like we do as people risk their own lives when their young are in danger.

"The eight that were re-floated, circled the area for about 2-3 hours before moving on and hopefully recovering from the ordeal."

Dan Jarvis, British Divers Marine Life Rescue

Around 30 volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue and Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Marine Stranding Network made sure the pod didn't return to shore.

Eight of the dolphins stranded made it back into the sea with the help of two members of the public.

Last year 250 dolphins and porpoises died after getting stranded on Cornwall's beaches, that's the second highest number ever recorded.

But the number of dolphins washing up dead in Cornwall is on the rise.

A large number of the animals showed signs of damage caused by fishing nets but the trust is still looking into why there's been a spike in number.

Marine officer Ruth Williams told Pirate FM there could be many reasons the pod were stranded today.

"We are a bit concerned that this many were stranded but it could have been a lot worse.

"I don't think lack of food is the reason we're seeing common dolphins a lot further in shore, it's more that the food is moving, predators follow and pose the risk of getting trapped in these areas closer to shore.

Last year 250 dolphins and porpoises died after getting stranded.

"We're worried with the high winds that are coming in that this pod will be of higher risk of being stranded again but they swam off fairly positively so fingers crossed they'll be ok.

"We are always on higher alert when the winds pick up and we may get more animals stranded because of the weather but hopefully it won't be the eight that were re-floated today.

"We will be monitoring them; the dolphins were swimming off round the headland so our network of volunteers will be keeping an eye out for them." 

Ruth Williams, Marine Office for Cornwall Wildlife Trust

The trust is appealing for donations to fund research into why the number of dolphins and porpoises dying on our shores is increasing.

You can find out more about the appeal here.

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