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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Porpoise 'was killed by dolphins'
One of the porpoises had been killed by dolphins, an expert claims
One of two porpoises washed up on a mid Wales beach had been killed by dolphins, says an expert.

The badly decomposed body of the female harbour porpoise was discovered on a beach at Ynys Las on Saturday.

Despite the state of the carcass, volunteers found evidence that she had been attacked by her cetacean cousins.

The body had deteriorated too much to allow a post-mortem examination, but one will be held on the second porpoise, which was found near Borth.

Wales has seen a spate of strandings recently, with three whales beached at different points on the coast within days of each other last month.

Rod Penrose, the Wales co-ordinator of a website which aims to keep tabs on the death of marine mammals around the British Isles, said volunteers attended the two porpoise beachings over the weekend in the hope of carrying out a post-mortem examination on the animals.

The porpoise at Wallog, near Borth, was a male, approximately 1.09m (3ft 7ins) long. The Ynys Las porpoise was a female approx. 1.45m (4ft 9ins) long.

Of the female porpoise, he said: "An examination at site by volunteer Sal Shipley indicated the animal had been killed by bottlenose dolphins.

Carve up carcass

"(It) is a major cause of death for harbour porpoise on the Welsh coast.

"Due to the state of decomposition this animal will not go for a full post-mortem examination."

On Monday last week, a rarely-seen 15ft Sowerby's beaked whale was treated by the RSPCA after it was stranded on a beach in mid Wales at Ynys Lochtyn, near Llangrannog, Ceredigion.

Rescuers had at first thought the animal was a dolphin.

The biggest whale to be washed up was a fin whale, on mudflats near Newport in south east Wales last Thursday.

Mr Penrose said the animal measured 18.45 metres (60ft 6ins) and would have weighed in the region of 40 tons, and not 80 tons as initially estimated.

A huge operation had to be set up to carve up the carcass were it lay and then dispose of it.

Hours after the Sowerby's beaked whale was washed up on Monday, another was found a few miles further along the coast at the Parrog in Newport, Pembrokeshire.

This second animal could not be saved, and a post-mortem examination was carried out at London Zoo.

Two porpoises washed ashore
03 Oct 04  |  Mid
Stranded whale back at sea
27 Sep 04  |  Mid
Animal charity rescues porpoise
24 Sep 04  |  Guernsey

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