Highest recorded level of strandings since 2003 sparks urgent appeal

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has launched an urgent appeal for funds to pay for vital research to discover why so many marine mammals are stranding on our beaches

Stranded dolphin, Holywell Bay, cornwall. Photo: Annabelle Lowe (CWT)

Cornwall has a phenomenal 20% of all UK strandings, including seals, porpoises, sharks, turtles and rare bottlenose dolphins.

Tragically though, 2017 was a devastating year for our dolphins and porpoise. A total of 249 cetaceans were recorded as Marine Strandings along the Cornish coastline. This figure was alarmingly high, the highest recorded since 2003.

Furthermore, scientists estimate that only 5-10% of animals dying at sea ever get washed ashore, meaning last year the total off Cornwall could have been closer to between 2,490 and 4,980 individual animals.

Volunteers examining a stranded dolphin (CWT)

In order to take action and protect Cornwall’s marine wildlife, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust needs to establish what factors are causing these unusually high numbers of strandings. Only by analysing the data, together with fisheries and other environmental data will they then be able to take effective action.

Without this research and the continuing work of the Marine Strandings Network the Trust believes that many more cetaceans will die. The trust have set an urgent appeal target of £16,000.

Ruth Williams, Marine Conservation Manager for the Trust says

“We urgently need to raise £16,000 in order to act effectively now. Every donation brings us closer to saving these majestic creatures and your contribution will be greatly appreciated. It’s a heart-wrenching sight to see beautiful animals dead on the beach.”

You can help by texting STRA18 £3, £5 or £10 to 70070 now, or donations can also be made via a specially set up page on  just giving 

Common Dolphin off the Cornish Coast (Photo J Pender)

CWT say a donation of £10 will buy one stranding kit for a volunteer, £20 will buy one specific Bottlenose dolphin and seal sampling kit, £150 will pay for one staff member’s time to analyse data against fishing activity and other parameters, £360 will provide 1,000 strandings tags for recording carcasses, £400 will buy two cameras for evidencing external injuries, and a £1,000 donation would train 20 volunteers to gather accurate evidence.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust developed the Marine Strandings Network over 25 years ago and to date is now the recognised recorder of dead dolphins and other marine wildlife for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly under a partnership with the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme coordinated nationally by the Institute of Zoology.

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