Harbor porpoise strands at Coquina Beach

A harbor porpoise stranded on Coquina Beach. Screenshot from video by Wesley Snyder


Local photographer Wesley Snyder captured video Monday afternoon of a harbor porpoise stranded on Coquina Beach across from the Bodie Island Lighthouse — a sad sight but not an uncommon one around the Outer Banks this time of year.

The porpoise was the second in the last week to be found dead on Outer Banks’ beaches, and one of 16 whales, dolphins and porpoises stranded locally so far this year.

Strandings, defined as the beaching of a live or dead marine mammal, are not uncommon along North Carolina beaches. In fact, North Carolina experiences the highest number of strandings per unit length of beach along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, according to the OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

The reasons for marine mammal strandings vary, from disease to parasites to environmental injuries and weather events. Many times, a cause is never identified.

All marine mammals are federally protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, according to the MMSN.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com