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


2006-04-03 13:44:20

Dolphin rescued - Loch Ewe, Scotland

Spent an 'exciting' few hours on Monday afternoon wading around in freezing water at Aultbea, Loch Ewe. The snow and sleet never stopped, can it really be April??!!

The stranded animal was a Common Dolphin, slightly undersized it seemed to me and had been stranded and refloated by two local boys before I arrived.

It was in less than 1m depth, within the bladderwrack towards low water and had also been spotted in Loch Tournaig in the morning. It had been at Aultbea from around 2pm. Its behaviour was really odd, canted to the right about 15 degrees and going round in 2-3m circles blowing at very short intervals and hardly submerging.

There were large numbers of circular skin lesions, some bleeding. I formed the opinion that it was diseased, not injured. it demonstrated quite severe tremors when handled, After release, I persuaded it seaward and it ceased circling and moved east about 1/4 mile, parallel to the shore but inland and resumed circling. I again approached it and it easily detected my movements, as it had the first time, but this time evaded me and resumed a normal swim / blow pattern parallel to the shore again, but again inland for 1/4 mile.

After a period of some 2 hours shore monitoring it finally turned seaward and moved off in a normal manner toward deeper water, where I lost it in the snow squalls.

Ian French
BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic

Footnote: Ian French is not only a marine biologist but the only BDMLR marine mammal medic on the Northwest coast of Scotland. Specialising mainly in harbour porpoises he has the longest running porpoise survey worldwide. For further information visit

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