Stranded dolphin euthanised after 14-hour rescue mission

After multiple attempts to help one of the dolphins out to deeper waters a decision was made to euthanise her.

Stranded dolphin euthanised after 14-hour rescue mission in Finstown, Orkney Frank Holmes

A dolphin has been euthanised after a 14-hour long rescue mission in Orkney.

Medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) were called around 10am on Thursday to reports of the animal seemingly stranded in Finstown.

The team discovered two dolphins in need of help.

They were both female and found to be 2.1m and 1.6m in length and in good body condition.

The decision was made to refloat both animals. However, they were in a difficult location and needed to be moved a short distance by road to open water.

With help from a local farm, the dolphins were loaded onto a flatbed trailer and the journey was made with support from HM Coastguard to the Finstown slipway.

After being returned to the water, BDMLR say the dolphins responded well and they began to head into deeper water once their muscle tone had returned.

However, over the course of the hour they began making their way back towards The Ouse where they swam under a narrow bridge.

As the weather deteriorated medics continued to observe the animals and noticed the larger animal appeared to be leaning quite heavily to one side and was struggling to swim in a straight line, and the smaller was repeatedly pushing her to try and keep her swimming straight.

The larger dolphin became stranded again at low tide and a decision by the local vet was made to taken to euthanise her.

The smaller dolphin was later discovered laying upright on the mud medics, alongside HM Coastguard officers recovered the dolphin to a waiting trailer where a new release site was chosen.

The dolphin was taken to nearby Tingwall where a second attempt was made to return her to the water. Medics supported the dolphin for around half an hour before she was ready to go.

Once released she gave some powerful kicks and began heading into deeper water.

The rescue team stood down soon after midnight after what had turned into a 14 hour long rescue. 

BDMLR said: “This rescue involved a huge amount of work by a large group of Medics and supporting organisations.

“We would like to thank all the Orkney residents who offered their support with vehicles and trailers or with coffee and cake, and to Flett and Carmicheal Veterinary Surgeons for their continued support.

“We would also like to thank the local Coastguard team which provides us with safety cover, without which we wouldn’t be able to carry out this sort of rescue.”

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