Dolphin calf trapped in fishing line and starving in Swan River

The injured calf (front) and its mother. Photo: Delphine Chabanne.
The injured calf (front) and its mother. Photo: Delphine Chabanne.

A STARVING six-month-old dolphin calf is entangled in fishing line in the Swan River.

“That kind of line can cut a fin off, and it’s tight on the calf now, which is a problem as it’s a little calf and it’s going to grow,” Department of Parks and Wildlife senior wildlife officer Doug Cochrane said.

Murdoch University marine biologists photographed the calf and its mother, named Daniele by researchers, near sand flats along the Kwinana Freeway, Como on Monday.

The line is wrapped around the calf’s body and dorsal fin, and it is showing signs of malnourishment.

Today, DPaW asked the public to look for the injured mammal, and to report any sightings immediately for a potential rescue.

However, Mr Cochrane said a rescue could be difficult because the mother would be aware of any potential threat, and would lead her offspring away from rescuers.

The mother lost another calf born in 2013, but calf mortalities among bottlenose dolphins are high.

Up to 50 per cent do not survive.

DPaW has asked the public not to approach the calf and mother, or attempt to remove the lines, because of stress to the mammals that could hinder future interventions.

Report sightings to the Wildcare Helpline by calling 9474 9055.