Number of dolphin and whale deaths rise in Cornwall

Female sperm whale stranded at Perran Sands in 2016. Credit: Niki Clear/Cornwall Wildlife Trust

There has been an increase in the number of dolphin deaths in Cornwall over the last year, according to a new report released by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

In 2016, a total of 205 animals, including dolphins, porpoises and whales, were stranded, compared to only 10 in 2015.

There has also been an over 50% increase in their deaths.

The animals stranded off the Cornish coast last year include:

  • 113 short-beaked common dolphins

  • 61 were harbour porpoises.

  • a female sperm whale stranded post- mortem on Perran Sands, north Cornwall

  • a bottlenose dolphin stranded on the Isles of Scilly

  • a minke whale also stranded at Compass Point near Bude.

Animals strand for a number of reasons, including natural causes such as disease.

31 of the 205 stranded were examined post-mortem by the Trust, which found that the cause of death for over a quarter of the animals was due to them being caught in fishing gear.

16% of the animals were attacked and killed by larger bottlenose dolphins.

Minke Whale at Compass Point near Bude being post mortemed in-situ by a vet pathologist in 2016. Credit: Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Anyone who sees any stranded or dead marine animals is urged to contact the Cornwall Wildlife Trust on the 24-hour hotline: 0345 201226.