ZSL investigates mass dolphin stranding in Cornwall
Tuesday 10 June 2008
ZSL is leading the postmortem investigations on twenty-six common dolphins which stranded in the Cornish River Percuil near Falmouth.
ZSL scientists are leading the postmortem investigation to discover more about this particular mass stranding as part of the DEFRA-funded Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme,
Marine strandings occur for a number of reasons, including sickness, disorientation, natural mortality, extreme weather conditions or injury. More recently, one of the main causes of death has been identified as bycatch – animals being accidentally caught in fishing nets.
ZSL scientists are undertaking post-mortems in situ or a nearby location, while a small sample will be analysed at nearby collaborating lab, Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA), Polwhele. Initial post-mortem work has been carried out on seven dolphins so far.
The dophins appear to have been well fed, with no obvious signs of disease or poisoning. It is hoped the results of the post-mortems will shed light on the reasons behind this mass stranding.
The stranded animals are common dolphins (Delphinus delphis).