A team from the Lacashire Coast Guard explained what to do if you find a dead animal on the beach after three carcasses have washed up on the Fylde coast within a week.
On Monday (March 29), the HM Fleetwood Coast Guard were contacted by a member of the public about a wreck washed up on Rossall Beach on the Cleveleys waterfront.
At first, the species of the dead mammal was unclear, with members speculating whether it was a seal or a porpoise.
The uncertainty was due to the fact that the body had been subjected to a combination of decay, being eaten by other creatures, and erosion by rocks.
However, the presence of a telltale piece of fur indicated that it was a young seal. .
Last week, Wednesday March 24, coast guard HM Lytham was called to a porpoise who died on St Anne’s beach.
A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said: “At approximately 11:20 am on Wednesday March 24, the Lytham St Anne’s Coast Guard Rescue Team was dispatched to investigate a dead porpoise on St Anne’s Beach. Full details relevant have been recorded and local authorities notified.
“Just after 2:15 pm on Monday March 29, the Fleetwood Coast Guard Rescue Team was dispatched to a deceased marine animal on Rossall Beach near Fleetwood. Following an investigation by the Coast Guard Rescue Team, the animal turned out to be a seal and the council was contacted to organize the removal. “
Also last week, a young dolphin also ran aground on Larkholme Parade in Fleetwood. The woman who discovered the carcass contacted Wyre City Council who said they would ask the Coast Guard to remove it.
A local team then intervened to take measurements and photographs which were then sent to the Natural History Museum in London.
The purpose of the measurements is to assess population dynamics and establish the possible / actual cause of death.
HM Coastguard Fleetwood posted information and advice on what the public should do and answered questions on their Facebook page:
Why are the coast guards loaded?
“We are responsible for investigating the carcasses of dolphins, porpoises, orcas or any other cetacean (marine mammal) on behalf of the Strandings Unit of the Natural History Museum in London.
“This organization monitors the distribution of cetacean populations around the coast and tries to establish the cause of death, whether from natural causes including disease, being struck by a boat propeller, etc.
“This involves us recording the location of the carcass and making a lot of length measurements and observations (male or female, type and number of teeth, etc.) as well as photographs.
“If the body is fresh, we can arrange for the carcass to undergo a post-mortem examination to establish the cause of death.
“In the event of decomposition, as is usually the case, we organize the collection of the carcass by the local council for disposal.
“A point worth noting is that carcasses of this nature harbor very unpleasant bacteria, so we adopt aseptic procedures with nitrile gloves and thorough decontamination after our measurement.
“Please refrain from touching a carcass without such protection.”
What if you discover a carcass on the beach?
“Call the Coast Guard! This is not an emergency so call the local control center in Holyhead on 01407 762051 giving the location.
“They will then task a local coastguard team to look after it and organize an appropriate elimination.
“In this way, you will be doing your part for the biological research and understanding of these beautiful creatures.”
To find out more, visit the government website here for the maritime agency and coast guard.