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

News

2005-11-08 11:54:04

Bottlenose dolphin strands, dies in rescuer’s arms, Cornwall

At around 8:30am, West Cornwall Coordinator Dave Jarvis received a call from a member of the public about a dolphin swimming inside Penzance harbour that apparently could not find its way out. Coordinator Tim Bain was contacted and Medics were quickly deployed to the scene.

Arriving at the harbour, Dave, Tim and Medic Lesley Jarvis met with Medics Rory Goodall, Karl Wheston and Simon Bone. The dolphin could be seen circling the harbour, and was confirmed to be a bottlenose dolphin. Even at this early stage it was immediately obvious there was something wrong with the dolphin, which was approximately 3m in length. It was not swimming well and its poor nutritional state was also very apparent. Consultant cetacean veterinarian and Medic Paul Riley of Head and Head Veterinary Surgery was contacted, and he agreed to get to the site as soon as he could.

Meanwhile, the dolphin appeared to be attempting to strand by the harbour wall, and eventually managed to on the main slipway. Tim, Karl and Rory, assisted by Martin James, entered the shallow water it was lying in and helped support it in an upright position to keep it comfortable and calm it down. The full extent of the animal’s distressing state was now evident. There were cuts to the upper beak, the dorsal fin was damaged, there was a small part of the trailing edge of one of the tail fluke missing and various superficial cuts and grazes on the pectoral fins and tail stock. Obviously there was also a high degree of stress and an elevated breathing rate accompanying this. After only a few minutes, the dolphin convulsed once and died in the arms of the Medics supporting it.

The Cornwall Wildlife Trust Strandings Network was informed and photographs and measurements taken. It was ascertained to be a male of about 3.2m and, if it wasn’t already obvious, very ill. The body was put in a tarpaulin and loaded on to a van to be transported to VLA Polwhele in Truro for Post Mortem examination.

Medic Dan Jarvis
BDMLR West Cornwall
(Newquay - Land's End - St Austell)