Unprecedented number of porpoises wash ashore on the Wadden Islands
Dozens of dead adult porpoises have washed ashore since Thursday on the Wadden Islands, SOS Dolphin reported. An epidemic could be at hand, according to Omroep Fryslan.
Volunteers from the animal rescue have one day to gather all reports and remove the animals from the beach.
The porpoises have been washing ashore on the beaches on the north side of the islands of Vlieland, Ameland, Terschelling and Schmiermonnikoog. Almost all of the porpoises were in a state of decomposition, according to the Dutch governmental organization for forestry.
The recent north wind is responsible for driving the dead animals to the shore more quickly, but the number of stranded porpoises found within a short period of time is unprecedented, SOS Dolphin said.
“You regularly come across a dead porpoise a dolphin or dolphin”, Terschelling beachcomber Guus Schweigmann told Omroep Fryslan. “But so many, and also at the same time on the other Wadden Island, means there is more going on.” An epidemic was said to occur every 10 to 20 years, according to Schweigmann.
It was expected that more dead porpoises will be found in the upcoming days.
The University of Utrecht will conduct an autopsy of the cadavers.
Porpoises are fully aquatic marine animals that resemble dolphins. Their habitat is often threatened by industrial fishing and marine pollution. Additionally, some vessels create waves that attract porpoises which leads to some animals getting seriously injured or even killed by the propeller.
Sinds afgelopen donderdag wordt SOS Dolfijn overspoeld met meldingen over gestrande dode bruinvissen op de Waddeneilanden. De aantallen lopen inmiddels ver in de tientallen. https://t.co/F6GZR7ivDd pic.twitter.com/QII500JGP8— SOSDolfijn (@SOSDolfijn) August 28, 2021
Sinds afgelopen week spoelen er dagelijks #bruinvissen aan op het strand van #schiermonnikoog en #Wadden De teller staat nu op 20. Dat is niet normaal, wat is er aan de hand? Meer onderzoek is nodig!! @Natuurmonument ondersteunt @SOSDolfijn bij inventariseren aangespoelde dieren pic.twitter.com/avSOJZdsPs— Borras Cynthia (@NatuuropSchier) August 28, 2021
Reporting by ANP and NL Times