Heroic efforts of bystanders to save dolphin
DESPITE the efforts of a good-Samaritan helicopter crew and passers-by, a dolphin stranded at Ocean Shores on the weekend did not survive.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) ranger Lori Cameron said a local couple walking on Crabbes Creek Beach in Billinudgel Nature Reserve, north of Ocean Shores, reported the sight early Saturday morning.
"As they walked they noticed a helicopter had landed on the beach and one of the crew carrying a dolphin back into the ocean before flying off," Ms Cameron said.
"When the couple returned, they found that the dolphin had re-stranded so with the help of other passers-by they took the dolphin further back out to sea.
"However it washed in again in a weakened state."
Ms Cameron said WIRES, ORRCA and the NPWS were called and the dolphin was "stablised with the help of local volunteers before a team from Sea World arrived to assess the animal".
"The female dolphin was transported by road to Sea World on the Gold Coast where, despite more veterinary attention, it died soon after," she explained.
"Early indications from the blood test revealed potential kidney and liver issues."
The species was a pantropical spotted dolphin.
"Being an off-shore species it is rare to see them on the coast, an indication that the dolphin was unwell in the absence of any external signs of physical trauma," Ms Cameron said.
NPWS wanted to thank everyone who helped during the operation including Cape Byron Marine Park staff, ORRCA volunteers, Sea World and members of the public on the beach.
People can report marine fauna strandings to the NPWS on 02 6626 6931 or the ORRCA 24 hour hotline 02 9415 3333.
Pantropical spotted dolphin are common in deep oceanic tropical and temperate waters.
In Australia, they have been recorded off the Northern Territory, Western Australia south to Augusta, Queensland and NSW.