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Good News: Human chain rescues stranded dolphin

BY Alice Gawthrop

16th Feb 2023 Good News

Good News: Human chain rescues stranded dolphin

A group of biologists in Florida rescued a stranded dolphin by forming a human chain to guide it

After a dolphin was found swimming alone in a creek in Florida, marine biologists formed a human chain to rescue it.

Solitary dolphins

Dolphins typically travel in groups called a “school” or a “pod”, although solitary dolphins are becoming more common. This can be a cause for concern because dolphins are naturally sociable creatures, so if they are isolated from other dolphins they may turn their attention to human interaction. This in turn can be dangerous, both for dolphins and humans. 

"Dolphins are naturally sociable creatures"

Dolphins can become reliant on humans for food, and become less inclined to feed on their own. Additionally, dolphins that are used to human contact spend more time in shallow waters which can lead to standings or boat collisions. 

Meanwhile, humans who get too close to dolphins can find themselves with injuries such as broken bones.

Rescuing the stranded dolphin

After seeing that the dolphin had been alone in for a few days, and was near a residential area with potential for human harassment, NOAA Fisheries Service decided to intervene. Twenty-eight biologists from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, NOAA and FWC came together to form a human chain, creating a barrier that guided the dolphin out of the creek. 

Rescue biologist Brittany Baldrica said, “The goal was to just be a barrier that was novel to the animal, so we wanted to create a physical barrier as well as an auditory barrier, so we had somebody behind us that was banging on a boat, revving their engine and then we were splashing the water and moving forward towards the animal, so we were giving the animal the option to swim through the bridge on its own."

The rescue was successful, with the dolphin making its way out of the creek.

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