AT least a dozen people tried to help a young dolphin who stranded itself on the beach in Southbourne on Wednesday night.

Beach walkers came across the animal at Fisherman’s Walk at around 8.40pm.

They contacted the coastguard and volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) for help.

A lifeboat crew from Poole was also called to the scene as there were many people in the water trying to re-float the common dolphin, and there were concerns for their safety.

A spokesperson for the lifeboat station said people on the beach were using their mobile phone torches to guide the lifeboat to the shore.

The group of people had reportedly pushed the dolphin into the water several times, however it kept stranding itself.

When help arrived, the dolphin was back in the water and the coastguard team searched the shoreline with the BDMLR volunteers and the RNLI crew.

A HM Coastguard spokesperson said: “The teams were stood down at 10.10pm having conducted searches and confirmed that there were no further sightings of the dolphin.”

However, while medics from BDMLR were walking back to their vehicle they found a stranded male dolphin around 500 metres west of the initial search area.

It was confirmed dead.

Simon Dennis, Dorset co-ordinator for BDMLR, said the animal had no visible injuries but was “severely underweight” for its age and in a “poor condition”.

“When dolphins know they’re going to die they become really disorientated. Our biggest concern was the rest of the pod would follow and become stranded, although fortunately this didn’t happen. There was a larger dolphin seen offshore, though.”

Simon said it was “rare” for dolphins to become stranded on Dorset’s beaches, however numbers of the mammal are increasing as sea temperatures rise in the area.

He added: “We thank members of the public for assisting the dolphin, but would ask that although attempting to refloat the animal naturally seems the right thing to do, it is best to keep them calm, as stress free as possible, and to try and keep the animal wet and out of direct sunlight whilst trained assistance is coming.

“Any live stranding can be reported to BDMLR’s strandings hotline, 01825 765546, or in any case to the Coastguard via the 999 system, who will in turn ask our national team of over 5000 volunteer-trained medics to attend. Deceased animals can be reported via the UK’s strandings programme at”