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Dolphins stranded in Percuil River

9 June 2008 - 5:22pm

Twenty Dolphins have died in the Percuil River, St Mawes, after becoming stranded in unfamiliar shallow waters.It is thought that a number greater than twenty swam up the river chasing prey when they got into difficulties as this type of dolphin is not used to navigating the shallow waters.

With the tide going out the Dolphins ended up in the shallows along Froe Creek, a small tributary to the river, and subsequently twenty died. A handful were rescued by the Falmouth inshore lifeboat and volunteers who managed to coax the dolphins out to deeper water and by 1.30pm the surviving dolphins were back in the Carrick Roads.

It is possible the dead Dolphins will be taken away for further examination to establish the exact cause of death. Falmouth Coastguard urged the public to stay away from the rescue effort so as not to distress the animals further, although that didn't stop world + dog + helicopter from looking on from the shores and air.

Dolphins are often seen off the shores of St Mawes and Falmouth and further out to sea and incidents such as this are not common. However with an increase in commercial shipping and pleasure craft one wonders if the area is becoming increasingly hazardous for such creatures.


The final number of Dolphins that have died in Froe Creek is known to be twenty six. Post postmortems conducted by veterinary pathologists have revealed that the dolphins were in good health and that there was no obvious causes to their demise. Two of the dolphins were found to be pregnant.

Live firing naval exercises off Dodman Point could have had some significance although officials from the Navy said their were no exercises being conducted off Falmouth at that time.

Estimates suggest that up to 76 Dolphins were in the area and at least 40 were guided out back to deep water and safety.

One possibility is that they were chased into the river by a killer whale, as there have been sightings of killer whales in the area by local fishermen.

Stranded dolphins

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