COASTGUARD officers were sent to Barton beach after a large, dead porpoise was washed ashore.
Responding to a call-out by a member of the public around 11am last Friday, the Lymington team found the marine mammal lying on a remote stretch of the shoreline to the west of Beachcomber Café.
A spokesperson for HM Coastguard Lymington told the A&T it was believed the porpoise, which was about three metres long, had been dead “for some time”.
“A report was sent on to the receiver of wreck at the MCA [Maritime & Coastguard Agency] and this was then sent on to the Natural History Museum which keeps a record of this sort of activity,” the spokesperson said.
The matter was then handed over to Hampshire County Council to arrange recovery of the carcass.
A spokesperson for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust told the A&T: “It’s not uncommon for small cetaceans to get washed up in the region, although this part of the central Channel is not really a cetaceans hotspot.”
The cause of death is not always obvious, the spokesperson explained, with possibilities ranging from natural causes to attacks by predators or even by other cetacean species.
“Strandings can be reported through the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, and it may be that a cadaver will be collected for autopsy,” they added.
However, a live stranding must be reported differently to a dead one, with specialist groups such as the RSPCA or British Divers Marine Life Rescue trained to deal with such situations.
For more information visit ukstrandings.org/how-to-report-a-stranding