Dol­phin res­cue ef­fort

SUC­CESS­FUL RE­SULT FOR TWO STRANDED DOL­PHINS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Kensington -

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

Pic­ture: David Baylis

Marine Park co­or­di­na­tor Melissa Evans (left) and marine ranger Miecha Bradshaw.

The res­cue ef­fort.

One of the stranded dol­phins.

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