British Diver Marine Life Rescue medics were called out to Minnis Bay yesterday (February 24) to a report of a stranded striped dolphin on the beach.
On arrival medics found the dolphin was deceased. They left it in situ as they were waiting to hear from CSIP (Cetacean Stranding Investigation Program) to see if investigators wanted to perform a necropsy on the body to determine cause of death (marine mammal autopsy).
Medics went back this morning but were unable to spot the dolphin’s body due to high tide. They went out again this afternoon and there was still no sign. Coastal Wardens are walking the coast to check for the remains.
The creature was identified as a striped dolphin due to the line from its eye down through the side of its body. These are very rare in this area as they prefer a more tropical temperature. The last one to strand in Kent was in 1996 and that was also attended by BDMLR.
The species is common in the Mediterranean and is also seen off the Atlantic seaboard of France and the Iberian Peninsula but in Britain it is rare and generally only recorded in coastal UK waters, between July and December.
Striped dolphins are generally seen in schools of 5-300, with schools of several thousand seen on occasions. They tend to be active and highly conspicuous, frequently breaching and capable of amazing acrobatics, including back somersaults, tail-spins, and upside-down porpoising.
When swimming at speed up to one third of all members of a school will be above the surface at any one time.
Dolphins are Fishes Royal and are the property of Receiver of Wreck. It is illegal to remove them from the shoreline. The only people allowed to do so are the Receiver of Wreck or their agents. BDMLR are considered agents.
If anyone spots the dolphin’s body please contact BDMLR on 01825 765546 so they can arrange a medic to go and collect it.
If you come across a cetacean stranding or a stranded seal please call BDMLR on 01825 765546 who will arrange for a medic to attend and assess. Please keep all dogs away and do not attempt to return to the water.
Thanet council is aware of the find.