A baby dolphin died after it was struck by a boat off the Cornish coast, said wildlife conservationists.
The baby dolphin’s body was discovered on August 14 and the results of a post-mortem examination shared with the trust on Monday determined that the cause of death was head trauma, most likely caused by boat strike.
Its death comes as the trust and the Cornwall Marine and Coastal Code Group said they have been receiving an increasing number of disturbance reports from the public.
They are calling on beachgoers to take more care at sea to protect marine life and prevent such incidents from happening again.
Use of marine vessels such as RIBS, jet skis and Stand Up Paddleboards near marine life can chase dolphins away from their territory and away from Cornish coastline, said the conservationists.
“This baby dolphin represents the very reason we are working so hard in Cornwall to raise people’s awareness of the issue of marine wildlife disturbance by water users,” said Abby Crosby, marine conservation officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
“It is a devastating result which could have been avoided with more responsible behaviour.”
The conservationists warned that it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly harass a dolphin, porpoise, whale or basking shark.
A conviction carries the maximum sentence of £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment.
Ms Crosby added: “This is a sad and avoidable incident resulting in the tragic death of a young dolphin.
“Not only is it a disaster for the conservation of this special animal, but the death of this young dolphin will have been incredibly traumatic for the mother and the rest of the family.
“It is essential that those people who enjoy our Cornish coast and sea familiarise themselves with the codes of conducts available through the Cornwall Marine and Coastal Code Group.
“If more people follow these guidelines, we can make sure we can still enjoy watching these beautiful animals whilst protecting them at the same time.”