More than 100 dead adult porpoises have washed ashore in the Wadden Islands since Thursday. According to representatives of Omroep Fryslan, we are talking about an epidemic.
Porpoises are a family of marine mammals from the suborder toothed whales. Previously, they were attributed to the dolphin family, but porpoises differ from real dolphins in the structure of the skull and teeth. In addition, they are much smaller. Various subspecies of the common harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) are found in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and in the Black, Azov and Aegean Seas. The animals keep in small groups and hunt mainly bottom fish.
The animal rescue volunteers have one day to collect all the tests and get the animals off the beach.
Porpoises were washed ashore on the beaches on the northern side of the islands of Vlieland, Ameland, Terschelling and Schmirmonnikoog. Nearly all porpoises were in a state of decay, according to the Dutch government forestry organization.
A recent northerly wind has driven dead animals to shore more quickly, but the number of stranded porpoises found in a short space of time is unprecedented, SOS Dolphin said.
"You regularly bump into a dead porpoise, dolphin or dolphins," Terschelling beach resident Guus Schweigmann told Omroep Fryslan. "But so many, and at the same time on the other island of Wadden, means that there is more going on."
More dead porpoises are expected to be found in the coming days.
Utrecht University will perform autopsies.