When a visitor from Arbroath saw the distraught animal while driving along the shore at Nigg Bay in the Scottish Highlands, she immediately called animal rescue services.
Overnight volunteer efforts resulted in the successful rescue of a four-year-old bottlenose dolphin that had become stranded on the sand due to a lowering tide.
When a tourist from Arbroath, Lorraine Culloch, 38, saw the terrified animal while driving along the beach at Nigg Bay in the Scottish Highlands, she immediately called animal rescue services.
Volunteers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discovered the female dolphin on Sunday evening, blistered and sunburned.
Rescuers acted quickly and wrapped the dolphin, which they have named Spirtle, in wet towels to keep it moist as doctors worked all night to maintain it in a stable condition.
As veterinarians worked through the night to maintain the dolphin in a stable condition, rescuers acted quickly and wrapped the dolphin, who had been given the name Spirtle, in damp towels to keep it moist.
They returned the dolphin, a member of the Moray Firth’s resident pod, to the water at Nigg on the Cromarty Firth’s coast after the tide came in.
“We were informed of a bottlenose dolphin that fell stranded on the shore in Nigg Bay over the weekend,” said Simon Wharton, an animal rescue officer with the Scottish SPCA.
We don’t know how it ended up stuck, although it might have entered the bay to feed and became trapped by the tides.
‘Since the tide had already gone out, we put wet towels on top of the dolphin & stayed with it until the wave came back in, which was about 10 hours later.
‘It was a great relief to get the dolphin back in the ocean safely, due to a wonderful team effort from British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the locals involved,’ said the dolphin’s rescuer.Volunteers, acting as good samaritans, returned the dolphin to the ocean near Nigg, on the Cromarty Firth coast, once the tide came in. The dolphin is a member of the resident pod in the Moray Firth.
It took 10 hours in total to complete the daring rescue because the rescuers had to wait for the tide to turn out before they could send Spirtle back into deeper waters.
According to Colin McFadyen, the northeast region coordinator for British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the dolphin was very weak when we spotted her, so we had to wait for the tide to come in.
When we finally got her back in the water, she was still weak, but happily, she was still able to swim away on her own. – British Divers Marine Life Rescue’s Colin McFadyen
The towels were draped over her naturally to keep her damp and prevent her skin from drying out.
Although the veterinarians were first concerned because the sun had burnt her skin, they promised her that it would recover.
Even though she was very weak, she was thankfully able to swim away on her own when we finally managed to get her back in the water.
She is a member of the Moray pod. Therefore the dolphins there will help in her recovery. Since the rescue, she hasn’t been seen, but we’ve been looking for her.The dolphin’s ten-hour rescue took place because, according to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue’s north-east region coordinator, she was “quite weak by the time we found her and we had to wait on the tide coming in.”
After being saved by volunteers in the Scottish Highlands, the dolphin finally swims out to sea.
The heroic rescue needed 10 hours overall since the rescuers had to wait for the tide to turn back out before they could release Spirtle back into deeper waters.
Given how long the rescue took, it was devastating to watch Spirtle acting so unhappy. The wait for the tide to recede lasted ten hours. – Tourist Lorraine Culloch
After the veterinarian determined that Spirtle would be healthy enough to be rescued, the divers and rescue crew covered her in damp towels and seaweed to keep her moist, according to Miss Culloch.
Spirtle was seen swimming with her pod just days earlier, and other than some sunburn, she was in good physical condition.
The rescue teams managed to get her onto a floating pontoon at 4 am when the tide finally started to come in, and they then guided her into the deepest section of the water, where they massaged her body.
Since Spiritle had not been in the water for so long, she was extremely stiff. We observed as she headed across the bay to rejoin her pod after being released into the ocean, but after that, she gradually regained her strength.
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