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  I helped save a beached porpoise
Updated 30 September 2003, 11.06
The porpoise Gabrielle found stranded on a beach
The porpoise Gabrielle found stranded on a beach

Gabrielle and her family found a stranded porpoise on a beach.

In her report Gabrielle describes what they had to do to get the porpoise back in the water.

"Earlier this month I was up in the far north west of Scotland with my parents for a quiet weekend.

We visited the town of Durness and then explored a beautiful beach.


As we were walking along we met a man who told us that a porpoise was lying on a beach further along the coast.

He had tried to drag it out to sea, but without much success.

I saw it and ran to it as fast as I could.

Struggling on land

Without knowing what I was doing I threw my jacket off.

My main objective was to get it as it was struggling so violently to get into the water.

At first I was afraid but I knew whales, dolphins and porpoises were some of the cleverest animals in the world.

Calm it down

So I got down on my knees, stroked it and attempted to wet it with a little water.

I then tried to talk to it and shush it so it would feel safer with me around. And it did calm down.

I then realised it was gasping for breath. If we didn't get it into water quick it was going to die.

Too heavy

So I tried to lift it up myself.

Fact File
Harbour porpoises
They are one of the world's smallest cetaceans (whales)
They have a blunt snout
They usually live to be about 12 years old
They get their name because they often appear in bays and harbours

But it was far too heavy. I then got up and started waving and shouting to my mum and dad to come quick.

My dad said that we should take it to the side of the bay where the water was deep.

We both lifted the porpoise up and carried it about 200m, had a quick rest to wet it a bit more because it sounded as if it were drowning.

Then we carried it into the water and launched it.

Into rocks

We didn't notice the cold of the water because our minds were on saving this porpoise.

Then we had another problem. The porpoise had obviously become disorientated.

Instead of going out to sea it swam into the rocks.

Deeper water

So my dad and I had to go even further into the water. After about another 15 minutes the porpoise just launched itself into deep water. What a relief!

The experience was the most exhilarating and special moment of my life so far.

Great achievement

To save a whale, dolphin or porpoise is just the greatest achievement you could imagine.

They are such amazing creatures! I admire them.

After the rescue we found out that it was a harbour porpoise.

We named the porpoise Durny after Durness."

Gabrielle, 13, Fife

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
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