Porpoise May Have Died From Too Much Mating

Old male likely died of starvation after devoting most of his energy to sex
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2014 2:00 AM CST
Dumped Porpoise May Have Died From Too Much Mating
In this undated file photo released by Proyecto Vaquita, a different porpoise lies dead on a beach at the Gulf of California.   (AP Photo/Proyecto Vaquita, O.Vidal, File)

A 5-foot-long, 110-pound elderly male porpoise—which likely washed up on Worthing beach south of London before being dumped more than a mile inland—appears to have devoted so much of its energy to mating that it ultimately died of starvation and hypothermia. "The male porpoise was in a pretty poor way," Rob Deaville, from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, tells the Argus. "This appears to be an elderly porpoise, which would have had to expend most of his energy reserves to mate—leaving him deathly hungry and cold. Harbour porpoises live on a knife edge, and if they don't get enough food, their fat reserves deplete, meaning they don't have enough energy to catch food."

Though it was impossible to tell exactly where the porpoise washed ashore, Deaville says its body was fresh enough to suggest it had died within a couple of days of being found. Neighbors discovered it in a pool of blood in an alleyway on Nov. 1, and it was taken away the following morning by a group whose rep estimates it had been dead two days, the Daily Mail reports. Deaville adds that the animal was probably dragged into town by someone who'd been drinking—which he says wouldn't, sadly, be the first time such a thing has happened. (Another sad reality for porpoises: Dolphins have been beating them to death in the San Francisco Bay.)

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