The RSPCA has issued a reminder to the ‘well-meaning’ public not to seek to refloat beached or stranded cetaceans or aquatic mammals.
A sub-adult dolphin – approximately two metres in length – found at Penycwn beach in Pembrokeshire had to be put to sleep after being found weak and thin on July 25.
It is understood members of the public had earlier returned the dolphin to the sea in an attempt to help the animal, who was then seen trying to swim on its side and was clearly very unwell.
However, the RSPCA says animals found in this way are often in desperate need of veterinary care and, instead, people should contact the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999.
The animal welfare charity attended Penycwn beach with Welsh Marine Life Rescue (WMLR). Sadly, all were in agreement that the dolphin’s condition meant he had to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering.
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben, who attended the incident with wildlife officer Ellie West, said: “Sadly this dolphin was in a really bad way – found on Penycwn beach in a very thin state and clearly unable to swim properly when in water.
“Some well-meaning members of the public wanted to help and had tried to put the dolphin back into the sea, but this can be a very misguided thing to do. There can also be a zoonotic disease risk
and risks to human health for the public handling a dolphin or other sea mammals in this way.”