A DEAD porpoise has washed up on a beach in Kinmel Bay.

The sad discovery was made by a resident over the weekend.

The animal, a harbour porpoise, belongs to a family of animals known as cetaceans. They are the smallest cetacean along the Welsh (and wider UK) coast and will grow up to two metres max.

Gem Simmons, a marine biologist and conservationist from Prestatyn, said: "People often mistake them for babies or young animals. They live in coastal areas usually around the continental shelf.

"In regards to this specimen, the 'wounds' on the body appear to be post mortem and not the result of foul play. The body will be quickly predated on by species such as birds providing an important food source for many animals.

Rhyl Journal: Very sad to seeVery sad to see (Image: Permission granted by resident)
"Gulls in particular do tend to take the path of least resistance to reach nutritious internal organs creating circular 'holes' which can look suspicious. They will also focus around eye sockets and genital slits to gain access essentially.

"Unfortunately we do have strandings of these both living and deceased and where possible we would like to investigate why, although there is a certain level of normal mortality associated with species."

Deceased animals need to be reported to Marine Environmental Monitoring (MEM) on 0800 652 0333.

Gem said: "If the specimen is fresh, we will document the stranding, take measurements and MEM can collect it for post mortem examination if required.

"The role of MEM is to document and investigate any strandings and causes of death if possible but more importantly, these animals are all indicators of ocean health so determining the condition of the animal prior to its death gives us lots of important scientific data.

"If however the animal is alive, we urge the public not to intervene themselves and call British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765 546.

"Although well meaning, intervening can do more harm than good and strandings require an assessment from trained professionals before deciding on the best next course of action on a case by case basis."

Whether living or deceased, Gem reminded readers that these animals should not be closely approached or touched without appropriate PPE.


"They carry a lot of potentially harmful bacteria and zoonotic diseases and both people and dogs should keep their distance," Gem added.

"The body itself is an important part of the ecosystem and if it is likely to wash out on the next tide and not viable for collection, it is best to leave it to provide a food source within marine food webs."

A Natural Resources Wales (NRW) spokesperson said: “We are aware of reports of a dead porpoise being found at Kinmel Bay beach. Whilst it isn’t unusual for dead or ill animals to wash ashore, especially during winter or bad weather periods, we would not be able to make any assessment of the circumstances of the stranding or establish any causes for concern without the results of a postmortem examination.

“Any marine mammals found on the beach should not be handled by the public.

"We advise that members of the public contact British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) (https://bdmlr.org.uk/ or 01825 765546) and the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) (https://ukstrandings.org/ or 0800 652 0333) if they find stranded animals.

“The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) co-ordinate the investigation of stranded whales, dolphins and porpoises around the UK. As well as documenting strandings, the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme also retrieve a proportion for investigation at post-mortem to investigate the cause of death.”

If a marine animal has been stranded above high tide, in storm surges or high spring tides and is likely not to move, readers should report the finding to their local authority for removal. They should always also be reported to MEM.