Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A call from Titch a local Fisherman yesterday evening , told of a "small dolphiny thing " in the harbour (Goodwick) by the slip. I motored down there and found a throng of locals with Gethin (Tich's Brother). Apparently another fisherman had found it stranded on the rocks high and dry and put it back in the sea. He said it had screamed when he touched it !
The animal was bobbing around in a confused manner obviously in a bad way. We watched for a while in the hope its mother would turn up but it soon became apparent she was not around. Meantime Rod Penrose of the Marine Strandings Agency and Phil Lewis RSPCA/ BDMLR had been contacted.

I decided we aught to try and recapture the animal as it seemed unable to swim and was just bobbinng around on the surface. Gethin got his boat andf we gently approached. The baby porpoise was floundering and I easily caught it.

we went back to the slip and I realised I would have to sit in the water with it until help arrived.

It was a cold hour but a little group of people including a gang of local lads kept me company. It was nice to see these "tough guys" showing real concern. All the time I waited I could feel the little animals heart beating as it breathed regularly, blowing water in my face.
I have seldom felt so dispondent because it was obvious that without its mother it had no chance of survival and inevitably we would have to take the sad decision of putting it to sleep. Eventually Andy of Fishguard Vets arrived and quickly administered a lethal dose. The baby died peacefully in my arms.
I had been watching Bottlenose Dolphins the day before just outside the harbour. Some divers who were with Celtic Diving staying at the nearby dive base mentioned seeing a dead cetacean "about a metre long " floating off Dinas Head. It is a well documented fact that Bottles will kill porpoises , a mother with a young baby would be extremely vulnerable.
I was up and about early this morning and spent an hour on the outer breakwater. It took a while to find them but a distant spout and a glistening of water running of the back of a bottle was just visible in my Binoculars. I set up my scope and as I focused on the area off Dinas head a couple of miles away a bottlenose dolphin surfaced accompanied by several more. They were fishing under a dozen or more gannets.
Guilty or not guilty? we may never know and in a way it does not matter as we should not judge animals in terms of human morality. All we can do is try and protect their environment and hope they continue to grace our Pembrokeshire coast.
If ever anyone doubted that we are the "Dolphin Coast" of Wales this blog provides ample proof of that!