Rescue of oceanic dolphin hailed as big success

Rescue of oceanic dolphin hailed as big success
Rescue of oceanic dolphin hailed as big success

A ROUTINE run for Rockingham Volunteer Sea Rescue Group turned out to be anything but after an oceanic dolphin was found close to their docked rescue boat, Jamiee Lee.

RVSRG spokesman Craig Bryce said it was an unusual but urgent situation.

“At about 10am, January 22 the Sunday crew were walking down to the boats when they saw the dolphin trying to beach itself in the ramp area,” he said.

“Water Police and DPAW were advised immediately and DPAW sent their officers down.

“Senior Wildlife Officer Rick Dawson accessed the situation and they decided to put the dolphin in a 4WD then put it on the back of the Jamiee Lee.

“They used Jamiee Lee because it is a fast response boat. There was a real urgency to get it back out to sea as these dolphins can thrash themselves to death during a rescue.

“They picked a spot a few nautical miles off the back of Garden Island at five fathom bank. Once on the boat and wrapped in wet towels and blankets we took it straight out there and let it go quickly.”

Mr Dawson said the rescue was highly successful.

“It was a striped dolphin, they are oceanic animals that live in open water in pods of sometimes up to a 1000.

“People try to push them back into the water. It is okay for estuarine dolphins but these ones just go somewhere else and do it again.

“They just get more confused.”

“I picked the release spot as I wanted to put a bit of a barrier so it could properly echo locate again.

“So we decided to lift it and take it out by boat. It took eight of us to lift – it weighed about 150 kilograms.

“We managed to keep it calm as it was rough conditions. Once at five fathom it started to get agitated so we speared it straight into the water.

“It looked like it was heading east again and I thought not again but then it suddenly turned left and swam strongly out to sea.

“It was a highly successful rescue. It would have taken us hours without the help from the sea rescue group.”

“They were very professional and bent over backwards for us.”

He said there had been 10 previous rescues of the same species in the past 10 years with only three animals having survived.

Mr Dawson urged people to immediately call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055 if they find ocean animals in trouble.

Mr Bryce said the rescue was rewarding with the possibility of a future working relationship with DPAW.

“The whole rescue was under the guidance of DPAW. As much as we assisted they were in control.

“It was just such a brilliant opportunity for the two of us to work together.”

“Sunday’s crew did a very professional job.”

PICS: Credit: RICK DAWSON 464671p1, 464671p2: