On Monday 21 June, at around 10.30pm our Out of Hours Rescue Coordinator, Jo Collins, received a report of four white-beaked dolphins live stranded at Balnakeil Beach, near Durness, Scotland. The four dolphins measuring from around 2m were all stranded on their sides about 20m from the water on an outgoing tide. With information and photos supplied by the members of public on scene, our rescue coordinator was able to identify and assess the animals, and arrange for immediate assistance.
The Durness Coastguard team was tasked to provide safety support for the members of public who were already with the animals, while BDMLR Marine Mammal Medics were dispatched from the Caithness and Cromarty area. While waiting for medics to arrive, the Coastguard and members of public were able to support the animals in an upright position, and cover their bodies with wet sheets to prevent them drying out. Their breathing rate was monitored and they were checked for obvious injuries and signs of malnutrition. The animals appeared to be strong and in a good nutritional state, with just a small amount of blood in the water surrounding one animal, thought to be coming from minor stranding wounds.
At 2.30am our medics arrived with additional equipment to aid a refloat attempt, and with the water now reaching the animals and the beach starting to flood quickly, they were reintroduced to the water and by 2.50am all 4 animals were out of site.
A search of the local vicinity followed to make sure that they hadn’t re-stranded, and once the all clear was given, all teams were stood down. Thank you to HM Coastguard Durness for their support, local environmental group Plastic@Bay BDMLR medics Phillip and Clare Boardman, Gordie Bryce, Tom Bannerman and Ludo Van Muysen, and Noel Hawkins and Colin McFadyen for their telephone support.