Friday, December 21, 2012

Sick dolphin comes ashore

We noticed a small gathering of people on the beach at lunchtime today. Using the binoculars for a closer look we could see someone in the water wearing a wetsuit with what turned out to be a dolphin. Quickly, we jumped in the car and went down to the beach. Could we be of any assistance? A striped dolphin was floundering very close to shore. Occasionally he would turn over on his side, seemingly looking at us,  and stay in that position for a while before rolling over to open his blowhole for a breath.

I asked one of the fisheries people, who was closely watching the dolphin, what had happened. It hadn't been caught in a fishing net as I thought, but was really sick. The vets were on their way, but not to take the dolphin to an aquarium as that would be too stressful.

Suddenly, the dolphin managed to turn itself around and swam about thirty metres down the beach staying on top of the water. We thought it was looking stronger but sadly it came back into the beach and then stayed in one spot.

By the time we left the vets still hadn't arrived. We kept checking the beach but not a lot was happening. A jeep with a trailer was down in the parking lot for a time. Unfortunately, we missed what happened but the next time we looked the dolphin, jeep and fisheries people had disappeared. There have been two episodes in the last twenty years of a disease attacking the striped dolphins along the Spanish coast. Hopefully, this isn't evidence of a third.

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