Rescuers called out to refloat four stranded dolphins in eight weeks

Medics have been called to rescue four stranded dolphins in the last eight weeks.

Charity volunteers have had a ‘tough time’ in the last eight weeks after medics were called out to rescue four dolphins which became stranded along the coast in Tayside and Fife.

On Saturday, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity was called to St Andrews on Saturday morning shortly before 11am after a stranded dolphin was reported.

Medics assessed the dolphin, which was found to be in good health, and it was refloated within the hour.

The charity said that “time is critical in cetacean strandings”, so it had been good to see the dolphin was desperate to get back to sea.

Although footage of the refloating process appears distressing, experts say it is vital they hold the animal in this way to ensure it can regain its balance before releasing it.

Sara Macmillan from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said: “This was a juvenile common dolphin and it had just been caught out by the tide. 

“The topography of the land around about St Andrews does catch them out quite a lot, and with fast flowing tides, young animals can’t always quite keep up. 

“And that was refloated, from the time that we arrived on scene, to the time that the animal swam away, was an hour exactly.”

But call-outs to Barry Buddon, Anstruther and Stirlingshire haven’t had the same outcome.

Two common dolphins and one white beaked dolphin couldn’t be saved, with illness playing a role in the animals beaching themselves to avoid drowning at sea.

Sara added: “To let an animal die or to put it to sleep is never made by medics on the beach. It’s always made by a vet. They’re the only person who can either decide for the animal to be put to sleep or decide for the animal to be refloated. 

“We always need veterinary consultants to step in at that point. As far as we can tell, none of the incidents were linked. All the animals appear to be single animals that have either been sick when stranded or caught out by the tide.”

Tayside and Fife’s rescue team are the busiest outside Cornwall, receiving around ten to 15 call-outs to assist whales, dolphins and porpoises every year.

Although the recent incidents aren’t cause for concern, carrying out research to determine a cause of death will play a vital role in better understanding their behaviour, and finding out what’s impacting them.

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