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Three dead mammals wash up on Norfolk beaches in a week

Three dead mammals were found on Bacton and Walcott beaches in north Norfolk. This picture shows a harbour porpoise. Pictures: Shaun Baker

Three dead mammals were found on Bacton and Walcott beaches in north Norfolk. This picture shows a harbour porpoise. Pictures: Shaun Baker

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A beach walker raised the alarm after spotting three dead mammals washed ashore in less than a week.

Three dead mammals were found on Bacton and Walcott beaches in north Norfolk. This picture shows a harbour porpoise. Pictures: Shaun BakerThree dead mammals were found on Bacton and Walcott beaches in north Norfolk. This picture shows a harbour porpoise. Pictures: Shaun Baker

Shaun Baker, from Pollard Street, near Bacton, was concerned that the two seals he found might have died from a disease.

And he also thought that the dead harbour porpoise he came across had been attacked.

He said: “On my daily walk along Bacton beach on the evening of Sunday, June 14, I was dismayed to find the third dead mammal this week washed up onto the sand. I found it at the Walcott end of the beach.

“On Saturday, June 13 I had found a dead harbour porpoise with what looked like a huge bite under its head.

This picture shows one of the seals. Pictures: Shaun BakerThis picture shows one of the seals. Pictures: Shaun Baker

“And on Tuesday, June 9 I stumbled across a partially disembowelled smaller seal. My concern is that the seals may be victims of a disease but the porpoise definitely looks like an attack.”

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He reported it to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the photographs he took were forwarded for examination to the RSPCA East Winch wildlife centre in west Norfolk.

The pictures have also been examined by Julia Cable, national coordinator at the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity.

This seal was found on Bacton beach. Picture: Shaun BakerThis seal was found on Bacton beach. Picture: Shaun Baker

She said: “The photo of the seal looks like it’s a large adult seal so it’s very possible it died of natural causes. We’ve had quite a few coming to shore around the south coast of England over the past few months and a few of those have also died.

“The harbour porpoise looks to be in good body condition. They often feed very close to shore and can get caught out by rough seas or sudden tide changes.

“The missing part under the head is probably scavenger damage from gulls or other animals on the beach.

“At this time of year we do see cases of lungworm in seals and in severe cases this can cause the animal to die, also entanglement is a major problem in East Anglia and causes a number of seal deaths. In some harbour porpoise deaths evidence of by-catch (the incidental capture of non-target species) can be seen but that’s not visible in this individual.”


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