A stranded adult dolphin and calf were successfully returned to deeper water near Levens Beach Conservation Park on Lower Yorke Peninsula last Saturday (10 January, 2015).
Natural Resouces Northern and Yorke ranger-in-charge Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, Mark Davison says the successful operation was thanks to the quick thinking of a member of the public who alerted SA Police (SAPOL) to the live, stranded dolphins.
“SAPOL then alerted me and I was able to contact the person who reported the stranding and talk them through the correct procedure until one of our off-duty staff members, Cath Cameron, was able to get there,” Mr Davison says.
“We were very fortunate that Cath was able to round up a group of about 18 local volunteers to assist in this rescue.”
Mr Davison says cool, overcast weather conditions were favourable for the rescue of the dolphins which were beached in ankle-deep water and were initially separated from each other and experiencing some stress.
“The calf was able to be moved closer to the adult, relieving the separation stress,” he says.
“As the animals were calm, appeared strong and healthy and had been well cared for by those attending, it was then decided to move both to deeper water using appropriate slings.”
The dolphins were carried side by side to reduce separation stress between the adult and calf.
Mr Davison says the successful rescue was a pleasing result, particularly following the recent beaching and death of seven sperm whales near Ardrossan in December.
“It was very pleasing to see the adult dolphin and calf reunite and swim off together,” he says.
“It was certainly good to have a successful outcome after the unfortunate Ardrossan strandings. It was very distressing to see a mass stranding when there was nothing we could do about it.”
Mr Davison says being able to talk the member of the public through initial actions to assist the dolphins played a large role in their survival.
“We were fortunate that the dolphins were found relatively early and that we were able to give them the appropriate care to get them back out into the water,” he says.
“We’d like to thank the man who reported the stranding and the members of the Corny Point community who came out to assist us with this rescue.”