Lifeguards and specialists from Sea World teamed up to rescue a baby dolphin that got itself tangled up in some fishing line in San Diego, Calif. NBC’s Lester Holt reports.


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“This month CMA’s Stranding Team has assisted on a variety of calls. Right at the start of the month, CMA’s Stranding Team participated in a collaborative effort to disentangle a dolphin calf in the Indian River Lagoon system. The calf had been spotted several days earlier with the line and buoy from a crab trap wrapped around its tail, and being followed closely by its mother. CMA joined forces with fellow organizations including Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Hubbs SeaWorld, SeaWorld Orlando, Georgia Aquarium’s Conservation Field Station, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Marine Mammal Conservancy, to help disentangle this dolphin! A fleet of boats set out in the early morning to locate the mother-calf pair. After about five hours of searching their 50 square mile home range, our very own Chuck White spotted the pair! Under the direction of Larry Fulford, the legendary captain of the capture boat, a 400-yard net was thrown out and we went to work! Everyone entered the water to support the net, which encircled the pair. Once both animals were restrained, the line was removed from the calf, and both the mother and calf were released! Hubbs SeaWorld monitored the pair after the intervention to ensure that there were no complications. This dolphin intervention was a success largely due to the dedication and effort put forth from each and every one of the participating facilities. It truly is amazing what teamwork can accomplish! 

The Stranding Team has also been given the opportunity to assist on a variety of sea turtle calls; a total of 5 this month, which were all green sea turtles. Once again, a big thank you to the Sea Turtle Department for allowing us to partake in these calls. 

We rounded up the month by doing some training with the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, the largest nonprofit bird sanctuary in North America. All in all it was a very insightful and interesting day, topped off by capturing, disentangling, and releasing a pelican that had been entangled in fishing gear. 

This month has been very exciting, with many rescue success stories! As always, we would like to extend a huge thank you to our dedicated Stranding Team Members for all of their hard work! We are excited to see what next month has in store!”

 Happy Holidays!

Last month CMA’s Stranding Team has responded to several stranding calls, including a distressed manatee with extensive boat-related injuries, four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that had become trapped within a small bay during low tide, and even a few sea turtles! The manatee rescue entailed a collaboration between FWC’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology laboratory and CMA’s Stranding Team. Via our combined efforts, we were able to successfully conduct a boat rescue and transport the manatee, with CMA’s stranding van, to Lowry Park Zoo for rehabilitation. Unfortunately the manatee’s health status did not progress, and therefore he passed away.

As for the trapped dolphins we responded to, fortunately they all swam back out of the bay on the evening high tide, to everyone’s relief! They even made front-page news in a local newspaper! Additionally, CMA’s Stranding Team had the amazing opportunity to assists CMA’s Sea Turtle department by responding to two live Kemp Ridley turtles that had ingested fishing hooks. Fortunately, Dr. Walsh was able to remove the fishing hook and line from one of the animals and the other animal also had the hook successfully removed upon arrival at the aquarium.

We also have named our stranding boat (drum roll please….) “Tail Force One!” Thank you to all of the Stranding Team Members for all the great names that were submitted!

We have also been continuing with our workshop series, the latest being Marine Mammal Rehabilitation! All agreed it was an interesting and insightful workshop that evoked much discussion. Attendees even got to take part in an exciting activity, carrying out morphometrics on Winter and Hope. Thanks to all of our trainers for their help with this workshop!

As always, we would like to extend a huge thank you to our dedicated and passionate Stranding Team Members for all of their hard work! We are excited to see what next month has in store!

From the Herald Sun – PerthNow, October 29, 2012

“Three officers from the WA Water Police have been recognised for their remarkable rescue of a young river dolphin calf, Gizmo, who was severely entangled in fishing line for more than two months.

The rescue unfolded in June this year near Swan Yacht Club in the Swan Canning Riverpark.

The Swan River Trust has presented the officers — Senior Constable Bruce Rodgers, Senior Constable Glenn Bott and Constable Brody Baker – with “Caring for River Dolphins” awards to thank them for their efforts.

Swan River Trust General Manager Rod Hughes said three-year-old Gizmo’s plight had become increasingly dire as his protective mother, Tupac, thwarted all previous attempts to help her calf.

“By the time the water police rescued him, the fishing line had become so tightly wrapped around Gizmo’s dorsal fin it was slowly slicing through it,” Mr Hughes said.

“Gizmo was also dragging an increasingly heavy load of seaweed and debris that had latched on to the line and it had reached the point where there was a real danger the little calf would not survive.”
“The rescue conducted by these officers was extraordinary, particularly as they had to contend with Gizmo’s mother – a large, heavy dolphin measuring over 2 metres – repeatedly trying to stop them.”