£2,000 reward offered in hunt for bottlenose dolphin killer in Cornwall's Camel estuary

 

A £2,000 reward has been offered to trace suspects who killed a young dolphin in a hit-and-run boating incident.

Police were called to investigate reports that powerboat and speedboat users raced into the Camel estuary in Cornwall on Saturday afternoon to see a rare pod of inshore bottlenose dolphins in the water. One of the dolphins was mown down and killed.

The reward has been put forward by the marine-conservation charity Sea Shepherd UK. A spokesman said: “Sea Shepherd UK, together with Bob Archell’s Dive Master Insurance, is offering a reward totalling £2,000 for information leading to an arrest and successful conviction of the persons responsible.”

Conservationists claimed the pod of bottlenose dolphins was "harassed and disturbed" by about 25 small boats in the estuary on the north Cornish coast. The dolphins were in the estuary for several hours but carcass was not spotted until later later by people on a pleasure boat in the area.

Faye Archell, from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said the dolphin killed was believed to be a juvenile.

Police appealed for witnesses to come forward. A full investigation is being carried out because the dolphins are a protected species.

Abby Crosby, a marine conservation officer with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, called the incident “an appalling tragedy”.

She told the Daily Mail: “'Inshore pods are so rare and special. There are only three recognised inshore pods that are resident around the coast in the UK and one of them is in Cornwall.

'They are a sub-species of the offshore bottlenose dolphins but they live their life cycle inshore. There are only between eight and a dozen dolphins in this Cornish pod and to lose one is drastic.

'I understand it was not a deliberate act but an accident but we need to educate powerboat owners about how special this species is.

'I believe everyone was alerted that the pod was out in the estuary and they went out to see them. I think some speedboat owners were very excited to see them.

'These dolphins are protected under law by the Wildlife Act of 1981 and you cannot plead ignorance of the law.

'You cannot follow a pod because that is harassment. They can follow boats but boat owners should turn their engines off.

'These creatures are insanely intelligent. They will mourn the loss of a calf, they are not like wild animals with little intelligence.'

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "It is believed several boats were in the area at the time and one of the dolphins was hit by a boat and killed."

He added that the dolphins entered the estuary at about 1.30pm and "were followed by up to 20 pleasure boats until about 4.45pm when they left and headed towards Port Quin Bay".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project