Dolphins stranded on the Cornish coast


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Twenty six dolphins became stranded and died as tide waters fell in Porth Creek on the Cornish coast on the morning of Monday 9th June.

Investigations are now underway to determine why the striped dolphins, which are not commonly found in coastal areas, had swum into such shallow waters.

At the time of the incident, Dave Nicoll of the Falmouth Lifeboat, who aided the British Divers' Marine Life Rescue charity in their rescue attempt, told the BBC news that it was a horrible scene of carnage with bodies everywhere.

But we are doing our best to help and will continue to support the expert groups, said Mr Nicoll.

The teams were able to save seven dolphins, which swam out to rejoin the pod that had gathered in the Percuil River, while two others had to be put down.

A number of theories have been formed as to how such a large number of dolphins had got into such danger. These include the tracking of a large school of fish down the river, or an underwater disturbance.

It is believed that the distress calls of a small number of dolphins that initially got caught in trouble lured further dolphins over which then themselves became trapped.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Royal Navy training exercises had taken place off the coast of Cornwall prior to the incident, but stated that no live firing took place from Sunday noon through till noon on Monday.

Tony Woodley, spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity, said that they haven't seen a stranding anywhere near this scale since 1981 when pilot whales were beached on the east coast.

Charity chairman Alan Knight confirmed that he had not heard of anything like it. We can find no conclusive evidence as to why the stranding took place or why they stranded in such numbers at different locations. My personal conclusion is that there was some sort of disturbance that has caused the animals to panic.