A leading volunteer at a marine life charity has appealed to the public to make professionals their first point of call after the rescue of a young porpoise on Fairhaven beach.
Lytham resident Tracey Hope, North West co-ordinator for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), was called to the beach at around 10am on Saturday by the RNLI after they received reports of a porpoise that had become stranded.
She said: “Often it’s the life guard or the police who get the first call, but we at the BDMLR are specially trained to deal with strandings.
“People make the mistake of touching the animal. If it’s a seal, often the mum will leave the pup at high tide and will come back to it, but if it has been touched the mum will abandon it.
“Luckily we were able to reach the porpoise in time.
“We check for any signs of trauma. If it’s breathing at more than six breaths per minute, that’s a sign the animal is stressed.
“We had to rock it from side to side in the water for about half an hour, because if you just let it go straight away it would just come back.
“The longer it has been out of the water the longer it needs to be rocked to get its balance back. When people see a stranded animal they want to help but they often don’t know how. It’s all about calling the right people.”
The advice comes as the charity sees an increase in the number of marine animal strandings in the North West.
Volunteers were called to just five strandings in the 2015, but this increased to 13 in 2016. People who wish to report a stranded animal can contact the BDMLRon 01825 765546.