A 'beautiful and tiny' baby dolphin died after being washed to shore in an 'incredibly rare' sighting at Holywell beach in Cornwall.
After beachgoers and lifeguards spotted the baby dolphin, it was carried to a shallow pool where it sadly died shortly afterwards.
Lifeguards called the British Divers Marine Life Rescue as soon as the dolphin was spotted and they responded quickly.
The dolphin was 'exhausted and badly injured' with 'rake marks' on its body from the teeth of other dolphins. It had also been left extremely vulnerable without its mother at such a young age.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Marine Awareness Officer, Matt Slater, was on the beach when the creature became stranded.
He said: "The baby was weak and had rake marks on its body from the teeth of other dolphins. It was beautiful and tiny – I can’t believe how small they are.
"Common dolphins are one of the smallest dolphin species found in UK waters, slightly larger than a porpoise but much smaller than a bottlenose dolphin. There have been a lot of sightings of common dolphins around our coasts in the past week.’
It is not known why the baby had been separated from its mother but according to the Cornwall Wildlife Trust the most likely case is that it was either rejected or separated by aggressive non-family members.
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust are asking the public to report marine sightings using their ORKS App. They say the data collected will contribute towards understanding the health of our coasts and seas, and the threats facing it.
If you find a live animal in distress you are advised to call the British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546.
If you find a dead stranded marine animal you are advised to call CWT Marine Strandings hotline 0345 2012626.