Public asked to watch out for beached sea mammals

PUBLISHED: 11:12 08 December 2008 | UPDATED: 10:08 10 June 2010

CONSERVATIONISTS have warned that increasing numbers of marine mammals will wash up on East Devon s beaches this winter - and are urging the public to report any sightings.

CONSERVATIONISTS have warned that increasing numbers of marine mammals will wash up on East Devon's beaches this winter - and are urging the public to report any sightings.

Devon Wildlife Trust say that with the onset of winter storms, they expect more and more marine animals to become stranded at beaches like Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth.

They want to know of any strandings so they can build up a picture of hotspots - for years they have been building up a picture of the types of species washed up and likely causes of the problem.

Lauren Davis from the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre said: "In the past we have seen an increase in dolphin strandings over the winter period so it is important the public are on the look out now and call us as soon as they come across one.

"We need as many eyes out there as possible. We do have volunteers who help us, but it is difficult to monitor all the beaches in East Devon without the public's help."

The charities will always try to get a trained volunteer out to as many strandings as possible to record details about the species and exact location.

Lauren added: "Recording stranded animals provides us with information about the marine environment and the health of marine creatures. This information is vital in helping us to conserve our marine wildlife and cannot be learnt just from studying live animals. If we catch strandings in time, they can be sent off for post mortem examination from which we can learn about causes of death, distribution, diet, diseases and the effects of pollution."

If people come across a marine stranding in Devon they should contact the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre on 01392 274128. When reporting a stranding out of office hours, the public are encouraged to leave a message on the answer phone with details including their name and contact number, date and time of the sighting, species (if known) and as much detail of its location as possible.


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