British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2006-01-12 14:19:16

Do we have a new lone Dolphin visiting Maryport Cumbria?

For the past couple of weeks BDMLR’s Cumbria Co-ordinator Jenny Watkins has been monitoring a Bottlenose Dolphin at Maryport Marina. The dolphin who has been named "Marra" by locals, swam about 500 yards up the River Ellen and through the lock gates into the marina. Initially there was a lot of concern over the dolphins condition so BDMLR's NE England Co-ordinator Dave Williams joined Jenny to assess whether the dolphin could possible be ill or injured. Dave Williams reported back to BDMLR HQ that Marra seemed to be fit and healthy. Certainly the lumbar muscles did not appear concave. Marra was chasing fish, diving and playing with the boats using the marina.

The Harbour staff were initially very concerned and wanted to have the dolphin removed for safety reasons both for humans and the dolphin. BDMLR [click to enlarge] directors as well as myself and Faye Archel have discussed the possible courses of action and are now advising the Marina staff. (Bottlenose dolphins are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act and therefore harassment is illegal). BDMLR is organising a "Dolphin Watch" to keep an eye on Marra so that if there is a change in health then a rescue plan can be put into action. Behaviour experts have been informed and we are awaiting assessment by them too.

We have ruled out the possibility that this is Randy or Fungi who are well know solitary male bottlenose dolphins which like to interact with boats and humans. It is possible that this could be a new lone male dolphin like Fungi who is currently at Dingle in Ireland. The local council are hoping that if this is the case, it may help tourism in the local area if he stays around. Large crowds of people flocked to the marina last weekend to watch the dolphin playing.

Another possibility is that the dolphin is unsure about swimming through the lock gates or the echolocation is hitting the bank opposite the lock gates and therefore does not realise that is the exit. However we would expect the dolphin to be more distressed if this was the case.

Sometimes the hardest choice is to do nothing, but this can often be the best and most appropriate course of action. BDMLR is putting together a rescue plan to ensure that if the dolphin deteriorates in health a plan can be put into play. BDMLR directors and other experienced medics across the country are on standby in case they are needed to help with the rescue attempt. This may mean draining the marina at low tide and then catching Marra up and taking her back out to sea using our rescue pontoons.

BDMLR would like to thank Dave Williams and Jenny Watkins for all their effort over the past couple of weeks and look forward to their continued involvement.

Any BDMLR medics interested in joining Dolphin Watch should contact Sue at the BDMLR's HQ.

Trevor Weeks
National Co-ordinator BDMLR