Due to the recent storms, marine mammals have been washed up on beaches across Sussex including Brighton Beach, Black Rock Beach and Ovingdean Beach. Dolphins and seals have both been spotted by residents and workers on the beachfront and are concerned about the welfare of these creatures.
After several incidents, those who spot these washed up animals have been advised by the Brighton Dolphin Project (BDP): "Should you happen to see a stranded dolphin or seal, dead or alive, we recommend contacting British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), as extreme weather can put animals at risk of washing up on our beaches."
Many of the creatures that have washed onto the south coast so far have been injured. Residents close to the shore have been advised on safest way to handle the situation.
The BDMLR advise that after seeing a live seal, you should watch from a distance and assess wether this animal is healthy due to its movement, as it is normal for these mammals to use the shore to regain their strength after stormy weather.
However, signs of ill health include: coughing, sneezing, wounds (especially on flippers), mucus, and little to no response to any nearby disturbance.
Finding a dolphin or a whale washed onto shore is very different, as these mammals spend all of their time in the water. Residents are simply advised to contact the BDMLR hotline as opposed to trying to return the mammals to the water themselves. This is because in many cases they need a period of recovery before being fit enough to swim strongly.
First Aid advice will be given over the phone until help arrives which usually consists of checking for wounds, estimating length, keeping animals moist, support animal in an upright position and ensure all movements are calm and quiet when trying to help.