Dolphin rescue effort
SUCCESSFUL RESULT FOR TWO STRANDED DOLPHINS
TWO Kensington-based women were instrumental in the successful rescue of two dolphins trapped in a shallow Mandurah lake last week.
Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) marine park coordinator Melissa Evans and marine ranger Miecha Bradshaw helped co-ordinate the three-hour rescue just a day after 12 long-finned pilot whales died when stranded in Bunbury harbour.
Ms Evans said it was believed the two adult male bottleneck dolphins got stuck in mud at low tide in Black Lake after swimming up river from Peel Inlet while possibly chasing fish.
She said the rescue effort would not have been possible without the help of the local community.
“We had help from the Mandurah over-55s Canoe Club and families who live adjacent to the lake, which allowed us to access the lake with our equipment,” Ms Evans said.
“Both dolphins were healthy but a bit tired after days of being in the lake which had become too shallow for them to navigate back to deeper water.
“We had a wildlife expert on hand to monitor both animals’ breathing and mouth movements which can indicate stress levels, so we needed to get them out by the third day because if they were left any longer the results could have been fatal,” she said.
The help from the local community was vital to the rescue effort as each dolphin was 2.5m long and weighed more than 300kg.
“The kayakers helped the dolphins into the shallowest section of the lake where we set up a 30m net that allowed rangers to get the first dolphin into a sling,” Ms Evans said.
“Dolphins are very smart animals so the second dolphin avoided the net and broke free when marine rangers initially tried to grab hold of it. We slowly drove the first dolphin in the trailer about 10km towards the coast to a boat ramp on the Serpentine River and released it back into the water.”
The rescue of the second dolphin attracted a small crowd of local residents who accompanied DPAW staff to the release point.
“When we backed the trailer into the water and released the dolphin from the sling there was plenty of cheering and clapping,” Ms Evans said.
The two dolphins are believed to have swum out to deeper water, as they have not been sighted in the area since the release.
See a seven-minute video of the dolphin rescue at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsDBrO43Jrk&feature=youtu.be
Marine Park coordinator Melissa Evans (left) and marine ranger Miecha Bradshaw.
The rescue effort.
One of the stranded dolphins.