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Young dolphin spotted in River Great Ouse in King’s Lynn and Salters Lode put down after becoming stuck in reeds in Cambridgeshire





A dolphin which was spotted in a river in West Norfolk last week has been put down after becoming stuck in reeds, officials have said.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) were alerted to a common dolphin trapped in reeds in a river near Pymoor, which is close to Ely, on Saturday.

It comes after two dolphins were spotted in the River Great Ouse at Lynn and Salters Lode on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The dolphin was assessed and treated on a dolphin rescue raft. Picture: Abs Ginimav
The dolphin was assessed and treated on a dolphin rescue raft. Picture: Abs Ginimav

In a post on Facebook, BDMLR said they had been made aware of the creature at the edge of the New Bedford River, which runs off the River Great Ouse, at around 7.30pm.

“The young dolphin is thought to be one of a pair seen as far inland as Bluntisham over the last few days, around 45 miles from open water,” they said.

After assessing the scene, where they found the dolphin had wedged itself deep into the reeds, they called for help from the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue medics and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service tried to save the young common dolphin after it became wedged in reeds. Picture: Abs Ginimav
British Divers Marine Life Rescue medics and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service tried to save the young common dolphin after it became wedged in reeds. Picture: Abs Ginimav

They were then able to cut the reeds back and get the dolphin out of the water and onto the BDMLR’s dolphin rescue raft, when a full assessment and first aid measures were carried out.

“There was some minor visible trauma to the dolphin's dorsal area and its breathing rate was elevated,” they said.

“The young dolphin was almost certainly maternally dependent and would need to be able to find its mother if it were to have a chance of survival, but with no sightings of an adult in that area of the river, it was looking more likely that they had become separated before the calf stranded.”

The team decided to ‘refloat’ the animal in the river, as its breathing had returned to normal and it was considered that the mother could be out of human sight and hearing.

“The dolphin initially started to swim down river but quickly stopped and was carried back by the flow of the river to where it had started, the dolphin's course was corrected but again it made little effort to swim and was just being carried back to the river bank and reeds,” they added.

A vet was called to the scene and the dolphin was euthanised on welfare grounds at around 1am.

The dolphin was euthanised on welfare grounds. Picture: Abs Ginimav
The dolphin was euthanised on welfare grounds. Picture: Abs Ginimav

Now, the Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme will carry out a post-mortem examination which will give an insight into the health of the dolphin calf and determine how long it had been in the river.

The BDMLR team say they are still looking out for the other dolphin to track its movements and monitor its health.

“If she can find her way back out to sea without intervention, that would be the preferred outcome, however we are considering other options if we have further cause for concern over welfare,” they added.

“In the meantime, members of the public are reminded that this species is protected by law from disturbance and should not be approached or interfered with in any way by water users as this may cause distress and difficulties with her current situation.”

The team thanked Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and the BDMLR medics for their support.



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