While it was the strandings of their much larger relative, the sperm whale, that gained media attention in Germany recently, there have also been several harbour porpoises suffering a similar fate in recent months.
In February, an 18 month old male was found on the Baltic coast at Eckernförder. Porpoises in the Baltic are critically endangered and face an uncertain future. The bodies of two young porpoises were then found in March, both appear to have suffered injuries from boat propellers.
Later on in the month a female porpoise stranded at Hooksiel in Wilhelmshafen. Despite the best efforts of her rescuers she later died. More recently, concerns have been raised over a porpoise sighted in Oldenburg in the river Hunte. The porpoise is some way inland and the hope is it will find its way back to the river Weser and out to sea.
WDC is campaigning for stronger protection for harbour porpoises in Germany. Underwater noise, fisheries, pollution and ship traffic all pose significant risks to their long-term survival.