Moray Firth (UK), 30 mei 2016 – vrijwilligers van British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) zijn erin geslaagd een gestrande tuimelaar terug naar zee te krijgen.
A big thank you to staff and volunteers from BDMLR, North 58 sea adventures and the SSPCA who helped with the successful refloat of one of our local Moray Firth bottlenose dolphin yesterday morning.
The animal was first spotted Sunday evening live stranded on the muddy foreshore west of Nigg and, judging by the position and state of the animal, had probably been out of the water for most of the day. The team at the Lighthouse field station were able to identify the animal as #1143 ‘Spirtle’- a 248cm long, four year old calf of #240 ‘Porridge’.
Spirtle had been seen the previous week with her mum and hadn’t shown any obvious unusual behaviour, and aside from the effects of the stranding, was in good body condition and had no external evidence of trauma or disease.
Because she had been stranded for so long in strong sun, she had pretty bad sunburn meaning the skin was beginning to blister. This is potentially really serious, and, in severe cases, can mean animals are euthanised. In this case I decided the blistering should heal once she was back in the water and figured she deserved a second chance.
So at first light we were able to get her onto pontoons and refloated on the incoming tide. It was vital that she made it out into the main Firth before the tide receded, as she would not have survived another stranding. She was initially very sluggish but gradually recovered her ability to swim and, after a worrying start, where she headed straight back to the shore, she turned and, amazingly, was last seen swimming strongly out to the deep waters of the Cromarty Firth.
It is hoped there she could have joined up with other members of her group. Refloats like this are hard to call, as we don’t know the true extent of any damage, and you can’t justify returning an animal to the sea only for it to unnecessarily suffer. As this group is so well monitored however, we should know if she does eventually survive.
We’ll keep you posted but for now we’re cautiously optimistic and pleased that, for once, we didn’t need to collect this stranding for necropsy.