DIVERS and animal rescue officers bravely battled to save a young porpoise in near-freezing temperatures after he was washed up on a deserted beach.
Tearful passers-by looked-on as a diver from British Divers Marine Life Rescue and an officer from the SSPCA wrapped the young mammal in a duvet to keep him warm, while a specialist vet checked the porpoise’s condition.
The team battled to save the porpoise for over three hours, after it was discovered on Portobello beach, near Edinburgh, at around 9.15am yesterday morning.
As well as keeping the porpoise warm, those attending to him also poured water over the stricken creature to keep him hydrated.
The porpoise, who appeared to have a tear in his eye as the rescuers battled to save him, had to be put to sleep after the vet decided he was not strong enough to return to the water.One tearful eyewitness said: “It was such an awful thing to see, I’ve never seen anything like it.
“The diver and the animal officer were stroking him and reassuring him while the vet gave him an injection to put him to sleep.
“I think everyone was crying, it was such a hard thing to watch.
“It looked like he had a tear in his eye, then his eyes seemed to sink in and then he stopped breathing air through his air hole.
“I suppose he’s not suffering now, and he seemed to be at peace when he went.”
Jo Hedley, a resident in exotic and wildlife medicine at Edinburgh University, said that it is not unusual to porpoises to beach themselves when they are unwell.
She said: “We found the porpoise on the beach and sadly we had to put it to sleep.
“It will have had an underlying health condition and they often beach themselves when they do, but there will be a post-mortem to find out exactly.
“If we can we always try to re-float them, but this one was too poorly so we decided the best thing was to put it to sleep.”
SSPCA ambulance driver Emma Phillips, who kept the porpoise calm and comfortable as Jo battled to save it, said: “The young adult porpoise was showing signs of distress in the shallow water and I contained the animal until British Divers Marine Life Rescue arrived to assess its condition.
“Sadly the dolphin was too unwell to be returned to the water and the vet in attendance decided that the only option was to put the animal to sleep.
“A post mortem will be carried out to establish the reasons why the porpoise became stranded.”