On Thursday 31 August BDMLR Medics in Northern Ireland successfully rescued a mother common dolphin and her calf. The dolphins stranded in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland’s largest sea lough (pronouced lock). When BDMLR Medics arrived it was obvious the mother and calf had been out of the water some time because their bodies and eyes were dry, but their body conditions were good and they exhibited stable breathing rates, so a trial refloat was attempted.
Medics kept the common dolphins moist with wet towels and when the tide came in enough, attempted to refloat the pair. Once in the water, Medics sat with the dolphins until they had enough depth to swim for themselves. When Medics first let go, all seemed well, but the immense pull of the tide brought them back onto the sandbank time and again.
After a while, the mother was able to swim for herself, but the calf struggled. Seeing the energy being stripped from the calf, Medics held her in the water for 15 minutes until she had rested enough to try again. Another 10-15 minutes later, the pair reunited and swam into deeper water. We hope they find their way to the sea from the lough and make a speedy recovery from the few small injuries they exhibited (a few scratches on the body which will be helped by the healing properties of salt water).
A huge thank you to the coastguard services for responding and lending an extra pair of hands, and for ensuring our Medics were kept safe while they worked on getting the dolphins back to deeper water.
Photo credits: Ruby Free and Helen Beattie.