August 3, 2008

Dead Sea Mammal Has the Experts Baffled


A huge dead mammal - thought to be a sea lion - has washed up on a Torbay beach mystifying wildlife experts.

The body of a seven foot marine mammal was found at St Mary's Bay, Brixham by Torbay Council beach staff.

A council spokesman said: "We believe it be a sea lion. Two of our men went down to have a look and they said there is no way they could move it. It is believed to weigh around half a tonne."

The council is making arrangements with the harbour service to have the corpse towed out to sea and weighted down for disposal.

There have been reports of sea lions off Start Point in South Hams sent to Lindi Hingley, of Brixham Seawatch, who monitors dolphins.

She said she has had several reports over the last eight years:

"I would be interested to know what injuries it has, if any. I have heard reports it has had internal bleeding which would suggest it has been hit by something, as that sort of injury is not a natural cause of death."

A spokesman for Living Coasts at Torquay, which has fur seals on display, said: "There are numerous possibilities as to what it could be, although it probably is some sort of seal.

"We would have to see some pictures to be able to make a positive identification.

"A fur seal would have had to have swim a long way from the South Atlantic, although birds do get lost on migration this would be surprising."

The Torbay Council spokesman added: "The council received reports of a dead seal in St Mary's Bay this morning. On investigation the animal was found to be a much larger sea lion.

"Relevant departments within the council are now looking to find the best possible solution for disposing of the mammal."

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