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THE HERALD FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16 2016


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Rare whale found dead


Northern bottlenose whale: Washed up on Sker beach, near Porthcawl


AFTER spending the weekend


training interested members of the public about the varied species of whales, dolphins and porpoise to be found around the UK coast, staff at the Ceredigion-based marine charity Sea Watch Foundation were flabbergasted to see photographs of a dead, stranded northern bottlenose whale that had washed up on a South Wales beach in their email inbox on Monday morning (Sept 12).


The species can usually be found in


deep ocean trenches and is usually only seen in British waters off the north-west coast of Scotland! Photographs were sent in by Neil


Bright who, along with his girlfriend Fay Lorraine Phillips, discovered the animal whilst walking their dog along Sker beach near Porthcawl in Bridgend on Sunday (Sept 11). The images were immediately forwarded to the Marine Mammal


Strandings Coordinator for Wales, Rod Penrose, who was able to confirm that he’d already attended the animal, which was a 5.3m long northern bottlenose whale, and had taken samples for DNA testing. “Due to the state of decomposition,


together with extensive scavenger damage of the carcass, I was unable to determine the cause of death,” stated Rod. “This is the third record for Wales - the first was a 6.7m live stranding in Tenby, Pembrokeshire in August 1996 which was luckily persuaded to swim away, and the second was a 6.21m


Microchips can trace owners of deceased pets CEREDIGION COUNTY


COUNCIL wish to reassure pet owners that deceased dogs and cats are scanned for microchips that can identify and trace their owners. Although it isn’t always possible


to read all of the information, when the Ceredigion County Council’s Street Cleaning Team recover the remains of cats and dogs, the animals are scanned for the presence of microchips. If possible, the remains of the


animal is taken to a vet for further investigation if a microchip is detected.


If the microchip can be read, the vet can use the data to trace and contact the owner directly. Councillor Alun Williams,


Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Assets, Transport and Carbon Management, said: “Pets are extremely important to people and it can be very worrying when they go missing and the owner doesn’t know what has happened. This scanning service provided by the council, along with the contact details for reporting animals missing, can be very helpful to let owners know if their


pet has been found.” Whether or not they have been


microchipped, all deceased cats and dogs collected by the Street Cleaning Team are stored in freezers at Glanyrafon Depot for two weeks after being collected, giving owners the chance to report the loss and claim the remains. Missing cats and dogs can be


reported to Ceredigion County Council’s Contact Centre on 01545 572572 or by emailing technical. services@ceredigion.gov.uk.


female in slight decomposition which stranded at Prestatyn, Denbighshire in October 2009,” added Rod, of the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme. Kathy James, Sightings Officer


for the Sea Watch Foundation, said: “Northern bottlenose whales have extremely bulbous heads with a protruding ‘bottle-shaped’ beak similar to that of a bottlenose dolphin. These animals are much larger than their dolphin counterparts, measuring up to 10m in length in males. It is thought that this individual is a juvenile as we’d expect an adult to be a minimum of


7.5m.” Whilst it might be a sad sight to


see a dead whale, dolphin or porpoise (collectively termed cetaceans), the scientists at Sea Watch suggest that it’s a really good and interesting indication of the wealth of wildlife that’s just off our shores. Only recently, the research charity


reported on sightings of pilot whales off the same section of coast as well as in other locations around Wales. Three species of dolphin are also regularly being seen in these waters, along with the diminutive harbour porpoise, which is the smallest of UK cetaceans.


Welsh Ambulance Service initiatives recognised TWO Welsh Ambulance Service


initiatives that help patients in need of mental health care and end of life care have been recognised as examples of good practice. The Trust’s Mental Health


Pathway and End of Life Care Project have both been listed on the Social Care Institute of Excellence’s website. It comes after submissions were


invited to highlight work that has raised awareness and improved implementation of the Mental Capacity Act. Clinical Support Officer, Edward


O’Brian, said: “It’s fantastic for the Trust to be recognised nationally and for these initiatives to be published on the Social Care Institute of Excellence’s website. “A simple pathway has been


designed by the Trust to improve the quality and clinical appropriateness of care provided to mental health patients that access the ambulance service. “The primary aim of the pathway


is to better assist those who need an urgent mental health assessment. “A further aim is to prevent those


whose care needs are of a less urgent nature being left waiting for hours in Emergency Departments and then subsequently being discharged. “When a paramedic is on scene


with a patient, they can ring the Mental Health Crisis Team and a joint decision is then made as to the best course of action for that patient which would lead to one of three possible outcomes.


“The first would be to leave them


at home with signposting to relevant services and the second would be to convey them to the Emergency Department if an underlying medical condition is suspected. “The third would be a situation in


which the patient is deemed to be in need of urgent mental health support. In this case they would be taken directly to a mental health facility.” The End of Life Care Project aims


to prevent unnecessary and unwanted hospital admissions for patients receiving end of life care that access the ambulance service. Edward, who is also the Trust’s


End of Life Care Lead, said that 999 is often accessed for end of life care patients who are suffering from an increase in their symptoms. He said: “Prior to the Trust making


these changes ambulance clinicians have often had to convey these patients to hospital in order to manage their symptoms when they would much rather be at home with their families. “The Trust has introduced


mandatory training in recognition and management of specific symptoms that are often seen in end of life care. “Clinicians can now provide


further treatment by using additional medications within patients’ own homes, thus preventing unnecessary hospital admissions. “By controlling these symptoms at


home patients can then remain at home which is often their preferred place of care.”


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