Entangled Common Dolphin – Uig, Isle of Skye, 6 February 2021

At 10.30am on Saturday 6 February 2021, our hotline received a call from a member of the public about a possible entangled dolphin in Uig Bay, at the North end of the Isle of Skye. Our medic arrived to assess the situation and confirmed the entanglement – our Large Whale Disentanglement Team (LWDT) were then informed.

Although the animal was much smaller than the whales we normally disentangle, the dolphin was entangled around its beak so would be unable to feed and an immediate response was required from our LWDT who are specially trained and have specific equipment to perform the rescue. The dolphin, originally reported as a bottlenose dolphin, was in fact later confirmed as a common dolphin. Our team began to fully assess the situation with some help from locals on the island who allowed us to use their boats to get a closer look.

Later on that afternoon, more members of our team arrived with our rescue trailer and an attempt to rescue the dolphin was made however due to fading light, this attempt was unsuccessful.

The team met again before first light on Sunday 7th February to see if the animal was still in the area and make a fresh attempt with a full team of trained disentanglement specialists. The dolphin was located and our CRRC rescue boat was launched at 8.40am. However after two and a half hours of trying, the team were unable to get close enough to the dolphin to attempt to free it and it was then the team lost sight of the animal. The area was observed from the water by the team in the CRRC and by shore based spotters for a further two and a half hours but with no further sightings, the team was stood down.

This was a very challenging rescue in which the team had to try and find new ways of helping the animal as our standard techniques would not have worked. Unfortunately the animal was very skittish and would not let our team approach it close enough to free it. We would like to thank the local community of Uig including those who offered us use of their boats, the local Coastguard team for turning out to provide onshore support and our marine mammal medics and LWDT team for attending.