📷 Natalie Arrow
On Friday 02 February BDMLR was alerted to a common dolphin swimming in circles in an intertidal muddy creek near Carnon Downs, Cornwall. On arrival a single dolphin was spotted already stranded out in the mud. From a distance the dolphin looked to be in fairly good condition however its breathing rate was elevated at around 8 breaths per minute. Unfortunately the mud was too deep to reach the dolphin and further assistance was called upon to help access it safely with a tandem paddleboard technique that we have successfully used before.
The team was then alerted to a second dolphin a long way down the creek on the opposite bank. This was investigated and sadly an adult female was found freshly deceased. She appeared to be in moderate body condition but there were no obvious health issues visually. This was recorded for our colleagues at Cornwall Marine Strandings Network.
Once reached, and recovered to a safe area, a full assessment was carried out. The dolphin was 1.4 metres; a recently weaned juvenile. First aid was administered and the dolphin was deemed able to cope independtly of its mother so a trial refloat could be carried out. However, It was clear the animal could not be refloated in its current location on the incoming tide and therefore the team and dophin were transported by National Trust vehicles, with our Head Vet alongside, to a release site in Falmouth.
Upon reaching the release site it was dark and the dolphin’s breathing rate was still high but calmed down after a while, as well as gradually becoming more active and vocal. Medics slowly reduced support to see how it responded and at first it didn’t do much but after a few moments suddenly sprang to life and dashed out to sea. The beach and surrounds were searched by torchlight but it was not seen again. The dolphin was numbered with a livestock marker for future identification.
For now, we have guarded optimism that this has been a successful refloat, pending any further news over the coming days. In the meantime a huge thank you to all Medics that attended or were otherwise involved behind the scenes in some way, as well as the National Trust staff at Trelissick Gardens, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Marine Strandings Network for their invaluable support.