Along with the jellyfish we posted photos of earlier in the week, a dead porpoise was also washed up onto the beach. It looked to have died from a large wound to its underside. One of our volunteers discovered it and took a photograph so we could try to find out what happened.
We contacted the Cetacean Strandings Project at the Natural History Museum who replied that it was not possible to say for sure what caused the wound, however one possibility is a Greenland shark which has been recorded in the North Sea. The Greenland shark is a scavenger and has been reported to feed on porpoise bodies, removing large chunks, and the porpoise wound does suggest one large bite. The photo has been passed on to experts who will hopefully give us a definitive answer. The further damage looks to have been done by other scavengers, possibly seals.
It can be distressing to see dead animals washed up on the shore, but reporting them provides important information which helps us understand more about these creatures. If you find a dead animal such as seals or cetaceans washed up on the shores of the Reserve, please call the Reserve base on 01289 381470 so we can report it to the relevant organisations. If you find a live animal that is wounded or looks to be in distress, it is crucial that you call us so we can try to rescue the animal.