Crews attempt to rescue dolphin again

Rescuers will be back in the Gulf off of Pensacola Beach in the USA early Thursday trying once again to capture and remove fishing line from the tail of a bottlenose dolphin that’s been hanging out at the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier for months.

This would be the fourth attempt to rescue the dolphin in the past two weeks. On Wednesday, the dolphin that pier anglers call “James” repeatedly outsmarted an armada of boats filled with members of the Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network trying to corral it in a net.

Weather and rough surf were blamed two weeks ago for failing to capture the young dolphin, thought to be about a year old.

Even with the help of spotters on the pier from the Fort Walton Beach Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, the rescuers could not trap the dolphin.

Instead, from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. “James” spent much of the time swimming back and forth under the pier making corralling it too unsafe. It also led the five boats, including one from Sea World, about half a mile east before turning back to the pier where it has been hanging out at for about three to four months snacking on bait and catches, even tugging a few poles into the Gulf and stirring up animosity among the anglers.

“Most dolphins don’t eat bait,” Allan Towe said. “But this one does. He’s become dependent on this pier.”

Dolphins are known to snatch fish off of lines, which is likely how James became entangled in the first place.

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