Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Porpoise Rescue

Hi Guys....have just got back from a rewarding night on the Lifeboat...

I had a telephone call from Phil Lewis of British Divers Marine Life Rescue regarding a stranding that had been reported....A (pod of) dolphin(s) caught in a net near Aberporth.

"Razorbill" was not equipped /lit sufficiently to make a launch safe, but the MCA had been alerted to the report and had agreed with the Lifeboat station that we could launch both boats as a training exercise.....Phil kept in contact with me as we got to the scene....clifftop searches had been undertaken by Dolphin Watch volunteers, but had been unsuccessful.

Our Senior Helm used his local knowledge to find the net which was close in under the cliff. We followed the net along it's length with the engines off and raised (due to the proximity of the rocks and came to a an exhausted Porpoise (not a Dolphin). Its tail had become entangled in the net which had cut into her. She allowed me to support her whilst we removed the line. She initially swam back into the net, but then sat and drew some breaths before seeming to gain strength and then porpoised off to sea....It's my first physical contact with a Porp (difficult to tell sex in the dark, but think it was a female adult....she had a long straight 1ft scar on her back if that helps with ID?) and was amazed at just how heavy she was!

Because we normally sight porps in pairs (at least) both boats did a sweep of the shoreline to check for others, but gladly none were found. An excellent result all round! Upshot is that lots of the crew are going to join us for a Marine Mammal Medic course which Phil will help us to arrange. Daniel

EDIT: A quick update...the holiday makers who spotted the problem have today been speaking with BDMLR....they initially said there were 4 animals (Dolphins incorrectly)....Unless the other three had managed to escape (I would have thought this unlikely seeing how tangled the animal we found was) they must have stayed with the distressed /trapped animal.....perhaps this goes to illustrate how complex their relationships are? The press have got hold of the story and I did a Radio Wales interview earlier (in my RNLI capacity) and there is some local /national press coverage expected.