Aquatic Mammals (2016)

DOI: 10.1578/am.42.2.2016.227


(…) At about 0900 h on 15 February 2014, a live harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) was found on the beach of Koksijde, Belgium. The stranding occurred on a sandy beach, with no mussel or oyster banks, wooden structures, or rocks in the vicinity. It was unknown at what time the animal stranded, but it was likely between 0120 h (high tide) and well before 0900 h given its position on the beach relative to the high water mark. The male porpoise was 1.08 m long (from rostrum to tail fluke), indicating it was a juvenile, likely 6 to 8 mo old adjudged by the well-documented breeding period (June-August) of harbour porpoises in this region (Lockyer, 1995; Lockyer & Kinze, 2003). The animal seemed to be in average to good nutritional condition: there was no depression behind the head as seen in emaciated porpoises, and the dorsal muscle area had a convex shape. The most prominent pathological features of the animal were a number of acute, irregular, and multifocal injuries (…)