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Lone Dolphin Rescued in Cornwall

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On Friday, February 16th, at approximately 11:40 AM, British Divers Marine Life Rescue received a report regarding a solitary common dolphin spotted circling in the shallows of an inlet at Place, near Portscatho, Cornwall. Responding swiftly, a couple of volunteer Marine Mammal Medics were dispatched to monitor the dolphin, initially hoping it would navigate back to deeper waters on its own while further evaluating the situation.

As the tide receded, the risk of the dolphin becoming stranded increased significantly due to the shallow, muddy inlet, which nearly dried out during low tide. Consequently, a larger response team equipped with additional resources was mobilized in anticipation of a potential stranding event. Unfortunately, the dolphin did indeed become stranded in the mud, falling onto its side and submerging its blowhole. Fortunately, the team was able to promptly assist in repositioning the dolphin upright and bringing it ashore for a thorough health assessment and initial aid. Despite no apparent injuries, the dolphin, later identified as a female measuring 2.03 meters, was found to be in moderate nutritional condition.

Sea to Sky

Image courtesy of BDLMR

Two veterinarians soon joined the effort, conducting a detailed health check and determining the dolphin to be suitable for attempted refloating. However, due to the challenging geography, substrate, and tide conditions of the inlet, it was deemed unsafe to refloat the dolphin there. It appeared the dolphin had likely become disoriented in the area, making it difficult for her to escape. Fortunately, a local resident offered his boat tender as a means of transport to deeper waters.

With assistance, the boat was maneuvered across the mud and launched near the inlet’s mouth. A surfboard with a soft mat was prepared onboard for the dolphin’s comfort during the journey. The dolphin was carefully transferred onto a mesh stretcher and loaded onto the boat by a team of four Medics, including a vet.

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The boat navigated cautiously to the mouth of the Percuil River, facing Carrick Roads and closer to open sea, providing an optimal release site with lower chances of the dolphin returning and becoming stranded again. Once positioned, the dolphin was gently hoisted overboard in the stretcher and briefly held alongside the boat. Upon displaying strong kicking motions, indicating readiness, she was swiftly released. The team observed her circling in the middle of the channel until she disappeared from sight. Subsequently, the team returned to the inlet before nightfall.

Monitoring of the area will continue throughout the weekend for any signs of the dolphin’s whereabouts or potential restranding. It is hoped that she will successfully recover and resume her journey back to the sea. In the interim, BDMLR extends gratitude to the volunteer team, local residents, and the public for their unwavering efforts and support during this rescue operation.

Learn more about the work of British Divers Marine Life Rescue at: https://bdmlr.org.uk



About Author

Lee has been in the marketing industry for the last 15 years and now specializes in teaching marketing techniques to people in the scuba diving industry. He is founder of Dive Media Solutions which, in addition to providing complete marketing, media, communications and IT solutions exclusively for the scuba diving industry, also produces The Scuba News. You can connect with Lee via Twitter by following @DiveMedia

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