More porpoises stranded at Belgian coast

This summer, a record number of dead porpoises stranded at the Belgian coast. That's according to the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences. In July and August, 41 porpoises were washed ashore.

Between De Panne and Knokke-Heist, 16 stranded animals were found in July and an unprecedented 25 in August. The Netherlands were also confronted with an increase.

Scientists are not sure how this can be explained, but it is a fact that an increasing number of porpoises have been found swimming in the southern part of the North Sea.

Research is being done on why this is, and on why the porpoises actually die. One of the explanations could be climate change.

More porpoises are found dead due to malnutrition. This is caused by a dramatic fall in the number of sandeels in the sea - which are a major part of porpoises' diets - which in its turn is a consequence of global warming. Other factors like the possible impact of offshore wind farms are also being taken into account.

Porpoises are small sea mammals which live close the coastline. They are related to dolphins and whales and resemble dolphins quite a lot, although there are small differences.