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Dead harbour porpoise found on beach in Whitstable

A decomposing marine mammal was discovered on a beach this morning.

The carcass - believed to be a harbour porpoise - was discovered by a passerby in Whitstable on the shoreline.

It is believed to be a harbour porpoise. Picture: Jack Miles
It is believed to be a harbour porpoise. Picture: Jack Miles

Julia Cable from British Divers Marine Life Rescue said: "The teeth are the easiest way to identify in these cases where the body is decomposing already making the colouration difficult to see. It’s not uncommon for them to wash up as they are a common coastal species."

Kent Wildlife Trust added: "Harbour porpoises can be spotted close to shore in relatively shallow water, especially in tidal races and around headlands.

"They are usually solitary or in small feeding groups of up to 10. They are pretty shy and will avoid boats and jetskis - though they are known to be more curious in some areas around the UK.

"Harbour porpoises give birth to a small calf every one to two years, normally in early summer.

"Look out for a small, triangular dorsal fin breaking the surface. Harbour porpoise are small and stocky, with a dark grey back and lighter underbelly. Their faces are rounded and have no beak."

The carcass was discovered this morning. Picture: Jack Miles
The carcass was discovered this morning. Picture: Jack Miles

Harbour porpoises are common in UK waters but they do face threats from water pollution including litter and plastic, noise from shipping which can disorientate them, and fishing nets which they can become entangled in.

They are sometimes confused with dolphins by non-experts.

Canterbury City Council have been contacted for comment.

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable


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