Rescue efforts were underway on Berrow beach on Sunday (May 3rd) to try and save a beached porpoise.
The 1.5m-long mammal got into difficulty at high tide, and became stranded on the beach shortly before 7am.
Beach jogger Jason Putterill, pictured right, waded into the sea to try and encourage the mammal to swim out into deeper water.
“It was a young, strong porpoise and we did everything possible to keep it wet and persuade it into the deeper water but it just kept turning around,” he said.
Burnham’s BARB Search & Rescue was called to the scene, along with marine wildlife experts from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue unit (BDML).
With the tide falling, the rescuers were drawn further down the beach and there were concerns for the safety of those wading into the shallow water and mud, prompting Coastguards to call BARB’s Light Of Elizabeth hovercraft to help as a precaution.
The hovercraft crew flew out to the BDML team to help them take the porpoise into deeper water but when the mammal swam again towards the shore, the wildlife experts decided to fly it back to the beach for treatment.
The porpoise is thought to have suffered an injury to its tail, where a small amount of blood was spotted.
Trainee vet Tilly Ethuin from BDML assessed the mammal and, sadly, the mammal was put down to prevent any further distress or pain.
John Hardy of BDML said: “It seemed to be breathing fine and when the hovercraft took it out into the deeper water everything looked good and we hoped it would swim away down the channel, but then it turned in again and when we saw the blood we had to take the very difficult decision to euthanise it. It was a sad ending but it was the best decision for it.”
Beach jogger Jason Putterill tried to encourage the porpoise to the deeper water
The hovercraft flew the marine rescuers and porpoise back to the beach
Vet Tilly Ethuin from BDML assessed the porpoise but sadly there was nothing more that could be done to save it