DPIPWE Marine Conservation Program (MCP) staff have successfully returned a bottlenose dolphin and its calf to sea after the animals became stranded at Eaglehawk Neck, in the state’s south.
The dolphins, a large adult female, and her calf, which is large but still nursing/suckling, were reported by a member of the public yesterday morning.
Marine Conservation Program wildlife biologists, and a vet, with assistance from Parks and Wildlife staff, attended to assess the dolphins for release.
The dolphins were in good physical condition and had a very tight bond, with loud and regular communication such as whistles and clicks. Based on this, MCP staff tried to release the dolphins together directly from shore but the adult dolphin circled back towards the beach, possibly due to disorientation.
MCP staff used a technique developed during the most recent long-finned pilot whale stranding response to move the dolphins to deeper water in Pirates Bay. The calf was placed on a whale mattress in a boat and the adult dolphin was supported on a whale mat alongside the vessel.
Upon release, both dolphins dived deeply and were sighted soon after surfacing together, heading north. Staff tracked the dolphins for 10 minutes as they swam strongly out of the bay.
Thank you to the member of the public who reported the stranded dolphins.
Members of the public are encouraged to report sightings or strandings of whales and dolphins in Tasmania to the Whale Hotline (0427 WHALES).
The rescue vessel transporting the calf on a whale mattress for release in deeper water.
The adult dolphin being supported on a whale mat alongside the vessel.