A PORPOISE calf which would have been dependent on its mother was put to sleep after being found stranded on a beach in north Essex.

The young harbour porpoise was found in shallow waters on Walton beach by a family on Thursday at about 1.20pm.

The small aquatic mammal was unable to swim or keep itself upright.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue medic Lou Hatwell was quickly on the scene after the family called the charity’s hotline.

A spokesman said: “A lady and her family had been doing everything they could to help the animal by keeping it supported in the shallow water, but it wasn’t showing any signs of recovery so called for assistance.

“Our medic Lou was close by so was able to be on scene quickly.

“Within 20 minutes we had photo identification and size, which confirmed that the calf would have been maternally dependent and would not survive on its own.

“Sometimes it’s possible to return a young animal to the water if we know the mother is nearby but if there are no adults seen in the area then the only option is to euthanise on welfare grounds.

“The porpoise was taken to a nearby veterinary surgery who under advice from BDMLR veterinary support co-ordinator, humanely put the animal to sleep.”


The body of the porpoise will be stored for examination by the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme at a later date.”

British Divers Marine Life Rescue thanked Kinfauns Vets in Little Clacton for their assistance.

Some commentators on social media questioned why the animal had to be put to sleep.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue added there are no rehabilitation centres in the UK for porpoises or dolphins or facilities for caring for a maternally dependant calf.

The spokesman added the area was monitored for a considerable amount of time and there was no sign of any other porpoises.