A DOG walker made an ‘upsetting’ discovery when she stumbled across a dead porpoise on Kingston Beach on Friday morning.
Louisa De-Ville of Old Shoreham Road, Southwick, said she had seen dead fish washed up before, but never anything like this.
“It was quite upsetting to see such a beautiful creature dead, but great to see one up close,” she said.
Steve Savage, regional coordinator of the Sea Watch Foundation, identified the mammal as a common porpoise.
“There are no obvious external signs to suggest cause of death,” he said.
“It does look like scavengers, crows or gulls, have caused some damage to eyes and possibly the mouth but the picture is not a high enough resolution to be sure.
“Damage to fins is often caused by the waves rolling the animal across the shingle beach, especially the dorsal as it consists of cartilage and connective tissue and this fin has no bone support.
“I would suggest that the weather is a factor as we have had a few strandings locally during the stormy weather, mostly porpoise, one common dolphin, also invertebrates such as starfish.”
Dead dolphin, porpoise and whales should be reported to the Natural History Museum in London who have a stranding programme.
Autopsies are often undertaken to determine cause of death, which could be natural causes or due to human activities or pollution.
Harbour porpoise are occasional visitors to the Sussex coast along with bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins.
There are 28 species that have been recorded around the UK.