Stranded porpoise rescued on Norfolk beach is given a second chance of life
- Credit: Courtesy of Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary
A young porpoise found stranded on a West Norfolk beach had a second chance of life after being rescued and successfully released.
The female porpoise was seen thrashing in the mud flats at Snettisham beach shortly after the tide had retreated on April 4.
Due to the location of the stranding the rescue team at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary had to move the porpoise to safety, as only the porpoise's blow hole and dorsal fin were visible and there was a strong likelihood of it drowning in the thick mud.
Sanctuary team member Natalie Emmerson said: 'It was very clear on arrival she was in a bad way. Being trapped in a shallow muddy pool with the tide out would have been incredibly stressful and it's likely it wouldn't have survived for long in these conditions.
'We suspect that she may have become trapped and disorientated in the muddy creeks, possibly while chasing food.
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'She's very lucky to have not sustained any serious injuries whist she was stranded.'
The porpoise was transported out into deeper water with the help of an amphibious boat called the Wash Monster, operated by Searles Sea Tours.
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Aquarist Nicky Nelson, who assisted with the rescue and release, said: 'After a short period of her resting in the stretcher and slowly being re-floated it was evident she was coping well.
'She soon headed out into deeper water, but after a few minutes she started to head back towards the sand bank but was able to navigate on her own accord and fairly soon we lost sight of her in the distance.'
William Searles, skipper and director of Searles Sea Tours, commented: 'I was pleased that Sea life approached us and that we were able to assist with the release.
'It was a tense moment watching her go however I'm happy to watch her be returned to the wild.'
The team dealt with their last stranding event in February 2016, when a second sperm whale was discovered 1.5 miles on the beach.
The team were unable to rescue the whale due to its size, but they were delighted on this occasion to have been able to rescue the porpoise.