How to Save a Stranded Dolphin



Call the authorities.,
Look up the nearest marine animal rescue service.,
Make sure it’s alive.,
Keep people back.,
Recruit others to help protect the dolphin.,
Leave the dolphin where it is.,
Understand the danger of illness.,
Use extreme caution.,
Stand away from the tail and face.,
Continue to keep people back.,
Check the location of the blowhole.,
Roll the dolphin onto its belly if needed.,
Douse the dolphin in water.,
Get shade for the dolphin.,
Dig holes under the pectoral fins.,
Get out of the way of professionals.,
Prepare for death.

The most important thing about a dolphin stranding is keeping everyone—people and dolphin—safe. The best way to do this is to report the dolphin’s presence to the local police. They will know what experts to contact to get proper care for the dolphin.

The police may come to the scene to barricade the animal in order to prevent it from spreading disease. The dolphin may not have stranded itself because it’s sick, but if it is, the disease could pass to humans through contact.;
, Although the police will probably do this for you, it’s a good idea to report what you see directly. Do an internet search for “marine animal rescue service” or “regional stranding network” with your location to find one.

Every coastal region of the United States has a volunteer stranding network. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) connects with these networks to saved stranded mammals of all kinds, as well as turtles.Make note of the dolphin’s physical characteristics so that the marine rescue agency you contact can bring the right equipment., Even if the mammal is dead, the body needs to be removed from the beach to protect swimmers and other beach-goers. Calling the authorities is the right thing to do whether it’s alive or dead.

Watch the blowhole. Dolphins breathe out of this hole, not their mouths, so keep an eye on the blowhole for exhalation.
You can do this without touching the dolphin. Most dolphins can hold their breath for a long time, so wait about 20 minutes for breathing or movement. If there isn’t any, the dolphin is probably dead.If the dolphin is dead, protocols like staying quiet do not apply, but staying back and not touching the dolphin become even more important in order to prevent the spread of disease.

, If you are the first responder to a stranded dolphin, it’s your job to coordinate the safety of both those near the dolphin and the dolphin itself. The most important thing for the safety of both is no contact. Keep people, dogs, and anything else at least 50 feet away from the dolphin.Ask them to keep quiet so the dolphin doesn’t get upset.

Tell any crowd that has gathered what you’re doing in a calm, low voice. Explain that the dolphin is probably scared and to please keep their voices down.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking charge, quickly find someone who will step in.

, Once people have moved away from the dolphin, recruit others to assist you. The more people are in the crowd, the more help you will need, especially if there are young children and pets present.

, Trying to move a dolphin will make its current injuries worse, or injure it in a new way. The best thing for the dolphin is to let it lie still until professionals arrive with proper equipment.

, Marine animals carry diseases. Although scientists are not completely sure why dolphins strand themselves, one theory is that it is most likely due to disease.Such diseases can easily pass to humans, so the best thing to do is not touch the dolphin.

Illness in wild animals is especially a concern for young children, whose immune systems are not as strong as those of adults. Take special care that kids do not touch the dolphin.
If you do come in contact with a dolphin, immediately wash your hands and skin.

, A stranded dolphin is a wild animal. It may feel threatened by your presence and choose to attack those near it.

Although dolphins usually defend themselves by swimming in packs of about 12 dolphins (called pods), they can do some damage on their own with their strong beaks and tails.

, Dolphins are strong, muscular creatures. Make sure that if you are standing near, or working with, a stranded dolphin, be far from the face and tail.

A dolphin’s most powerful feature is its tail. Do not hold or even touch the tail.
By shaking its head from side to side, a dolphin can strike anyone within range. Make sure anyone who is authorized to help the dolphin stands clear of the face and the range of its snout.

, It may take some time for the authorities to arrive. While you wait, use your volunteers and keep the crowd at least 50 feet away from the dolphin. Remember to have people keep their volume down so the dolphin is kept as calm as possible.

Explain to everyone that the dolphin can both hurt people standing too close and spread disease if touched. This explanation will more than likely keep people from ignoring you.
If you do see someone touch the dolphin, make sure they wash their skin immediately.
If the dolphin hurts someone, call 911 again to get an ambulance ready.

, A dolphin’s blowhole is located on the top of its head. Any debris or blockage of this hole—even from water—can cause suffocation.

Never get water or sand anywhere near a dolphin’s blowhole. Just like a human can drown if too much water comes into our mouths, dolphins can drown from water blocking their blowholes.

, If the dolphin is lying on its side or back, this means the blowhole is at risk of being blocked or is blocked entirely, whether by sand or water. Since this will cause suffocation, there is an immediate need for someone to roll the dolphin onto its stomach.

Only proceed with this step if you have assistance and are confident you know what you’re doing!Do not pull on the fins or tail, or try to push the dolphin back into the water.

, Soak towels in water and lay them over the dolphin. If someone has a bucket, they can pour water over the dolphin’s back, making sure not to get water near the blowhole.

You can cover the dolphin with a wet towel below its blow hole if you cut a slit for the dorsal fin, which is the fin on the dolphin’s back. Fit the towel very carefully over the dorsal fin.

, If the dolphin is in direct sunlight, create shade for it with a beach umbrella or other device, making sure it doesn’t come in contact with the dolphin at any time.

, This will make the dolphin more comfortable as it is not used to being on land. The pectoral fins, also known as flippers, are not made for flat surfaces.

You can also dig a hole under the chest and fill it with water. This will not only keep the dolphin wet, but it will support its chest while relieving pressure on the lungs and flippers., When the authorities arrive, get out of their way, and help the crowd stay out of the way too. The professional marine mammal rescuers that have arrived know how to take care of the dolphin better than you do, so making sure no one interferes is the best thing you can do for the dolphin.

, Even with your best efforts, if a live stranded dolphin is already injured, dehydrated, or very sick, it may not survive its rescue. This may be especially difficult for children who are observing the rescue to cope with.

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