Stranded dolphin saved

19 May 2009

DOC and Project Jonah raced to the rescue of a stranded dolphin, which beached itself yesterday on Waiheke Island.

Members of the public called the Department of Conservation on Monday morning after finding the dolphin high and dry at Anzac Bay.  The young Common dolphin, measuring almost 2 metres, appeared healthy and in good body condition despite some small cuts on its back and tail.

"Without being able to magically look inside these animals it's difficult to know where the problem lies.  The dolphin may have been sick or diseased, or it may have been seperated from its pod in a predator attack," says Kimberly Muncaster, Project Jonah CEO.

Project Jonah and DOC spent a number of hours with the animal, first re-floating it and then releasing it by boat to deeper water.

''We took the dolphin to deeper water as we didn't want to run the risk of it re-stranding on oyster shells", says Kimberly.

The dolphin was carefully lifted into DOC's small boat and taken to deep, open water. 

''The dolphin was lowered to us in the water, and we were able to rock it gently to help restore its equilibrium", Kimberly continues.  "At first it seemed lethargic, rolling repeatedly on one side.  After a few minutes though it began to slowly pound its tail and then, almost miraculously, swam away."

The dolphin was tracked and monitored for a couple of hours, but later returned to another shallow bay.  As the tide rapidly dropped the dolphin once again ran aground.

DOC and Project Jonah were immediately on hand to re-float it a second time. As darkness fell it was seen swimming strongly away at about 5pm.

30 June 2009 update:  Good news!  As far as we know this dolphin has not re-stranded.
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