A Dolphin Stuck In A River Is Saved After Five Hour Rescue Mission
At two-metres long, the mammal had become stuck in a muddy creek almost 100 metres away from an access point - making a rescue incredibly difficult.
The sighting was reported to Dan Jarvis at British Divers Marine Life Rescue who immediately pulled a team together to help.
It was then a race against time to find a boat and begin the rescue mission before the tide turned. A local family very kindly loaned them a vessel and incredibly, the team managed to load the dolphin onto the boat, sat on a couple of wooden boards with medics on hand.
Luckily, the dolphin had only suffered superficial injuries and the team were able to successfully transfer it back into the water.
A spokesperson for BDMLR said: "On arrival, accessing the dolphin proved to be something of a workout.
"It was stranded about 100m along from the nearest access point and getting to it required climbing over or ducking under a number of fallen trees along the edge of the riverbank.
"It was being supported on the water's edge by the local builder who had found and reported it.
"As more medics arrived they took over care of the dolphin and began first aid and initial assessment as more equipment was passed along the natural obstacle course to the stranding site."
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Natalie Waddington, a vet from the animal rescue group, gave the dolphin a full check to make sure it was fit to be released.
The spokesperson added: "Based on the veterinary assessment it was decided refloatation would be appropriate.
"It was marked with three orange stripes with an animal marker on its dorsal fin for future identification in case it was seen or restranded again.
"Obviously it getting lost in the tidal creek was the main reason it had stranded in the first place in this case, and with high tide having just peaked releasing it back into the creek would of course leave a high risk of restranding and not an option.
"Getting it back to the cars to attempt a journey by road to the coast was also very difficult due to the number of fallen trees, and wading further out to get around them was also very risky due to the deep sinking mud.
"Boat was really the only and best option if one could be found. It was now a race against time and tide."
Once the dolphin was released, encouragingly it showed signs of wanting to swim, but the team made sure to support it for a few minutes to be sure.
"The dolphin drifted slightly for the first few seconds before finding its fins again, and took off strongly to the south and back into the estuary at first," the spokesperson added.
"The team followed at a long distance to continue monitoring as the dolphin headed across to the southern side of the estuary, taking care to follow parallel and prevent any disturbance from the boat that might cause any stress.
"After some time of swimming back and forth and one close swim past of the boat, it was last seen heading back out to sea strongly.
"We would like to thank all medics involved with this incident, as well as the local builders who found and reported it, and of course to the Thomas family whose boat was instrumental in this animal's rescue."
Bravo to this brilliant team!
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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