Jersey Dolphins

📷 Donna De Gruchy

On Monday 11 March, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team in the Channel Islands was alerted to a pod of 13 common dolphins potentially in distress inside a shallow reef at La Roque, Jersey.

Marine Mammal Medics were dispatched to the scene along with the Coastguard, RNLI, Fire and Rescue Service and Fisheries Department for support and safety. The reef is a maze of rocks over low tide with very strong currents and it appeared the pod, including young calves, had become disoriented as they passed through it on the outgoing tide. They were found circling and exhibiting stressed behaviour as they struggled to find a way out when responders arrived.

Unfortunately it was already too shallow, but also very risky due to the strong currents, to attempt herding them back out to deeper water, so therefore the pod was monitored in a tidal pool in the sand cut off from the sea throughout the afternoon. Luckily, none of the animals stranded despite their confinement, thanks to the team building a dam so that the water in the pool was prevented from draining out to sea and causing them to beach.

From observations, none of the animals appeared to be in poor health, though one calf was noted to be especially stressed by the situation. As the tide turned later in the afternoon and the pool reconnected with the sea, the pod were able to leave of their own accord once the water depth was sufficient for them to swim through and back to open sea. The team stood down and further searches since have resulted in no further sightings of the group.

📷 Lou Wagstaffe