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Last Updated:  Monday, 17 March, 2003, 06:45 GMT
Concern over dolphin clear-up
Dead dolphin
Two hundred dead dolphins have already been found this year
Dolphin campaigners are concerned local authorities are struggling to cope with the number of animals being found on the South West's beaches.

With dozens of animals being washed up around the region's coastline official clear-up operations are suffering.

Since January nearly 200 dolphins and porpoises have been found dead in Devon and Cornwall.

Brixham Seawatch has worked hand in hand with local councils when the animals have initially been spotted, so they can send the bodies to London for post mortem examination.

But because of the high number being washed up on beaches, council officials are not able to keep up with the clean-up operation nor can the post mortem vet, based at the Institute of Zoology, London Zoo.

'Public outcry'

"The beaches of Devon and Cornwall have been littered with the carcasses," said Lindy Hingley of Brixham Seawatch.

"Local councils are doing a good job, but it is very difficult for them to keep up."

The wildlife group has been monitoring the situation, but believes the deaths will reduce once the season for bass pair trawling ends.

Mrs Hingley hopes people will not forget about the plight of these animals just because the fishing season ends this month.

"I don't want this problem to go away from people's hearts," she said.

"I want people to remember that if this happened in the summer months and we had all these dead dolphins littering our beaches there would be a public outcry, even more so than now."

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