A baby dolphin swimming in the waters in John’s Pass off of St. Petersburg has a better chance at life now, after an amazing rescue.
The baby dolphin would’ve eventually died, had a determined team of marine biologists and veterinarians not set off on this amazing rescue.
“We were able to go right out and set the net around the animal, capture it, and the vets were able to disentangle it,” said NOAA Biologist Jessica Powell.
Several feet of tangled fishing line was digging deep into the calf, through its mouth, around his flipper, and dorsal fin. It could’ve been a slow and painful death.
“On a calf such as this, aside from the fact that it was cutting deeply into the animal, it’s also wrapping around the animal. As it grows, it’s going to continue to cut into the animal,” said Erin Fougeres, Stranding Program Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Service.
A researcher first spotted the entangled dolphin and his mother three months ago. The pair fell off the map until this past weekend. Tuesday morning, the highly trained team set sail in search again. They spotted the mother and calf right away in the same area they were seen previously.
It took just one try to set the net around them both.
“The mother stayed with it, probably 10 to 20 feet from her calf the entire time, which helps keep the calf calm as we disentangle the animal,” Powell said.
The vets gave the calf oxygen while removing the line. Biologists remind fishermen to always recycle or properly dispose of those.
“It’s also important to not feed the animals because they easily learn very quickly, once they’re fed, to associate people with food, so they’ll come closer to lines,” Powell explained.
The dolphin got a shot of antibiotic and was released with his mom back into the sea. The entire rescue took 15 minutes.
“This animal looks like it’s going to survive and continue to thrive,” Fougeres said.
Fougeres says they only intervene when the entangled animal’s life is threatened. It’s a risky process. The animal can drown or become too stressed. It can also be problematic for rescuers.
“It’s also dangerous for the rescuers because it’s a wild animal. They’re very strong and people can get injured,” Fougeres said.
NOAA, University of Florida, Mote Marine Lab, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Florida Aquarium, Seaworld, Chicago Zoological Society/Sarasota Dolphin Research Program all participated in the rescue.
Source: Fox Article by:Kristin Wright