The dolphin chose to flee the canal, saving it from a life of losing its ability to fend for itself and potentially ending up as an aquarium resident.
When a dolphin got lost and swam up a canal in Clearwater, Florida, a team of biologists, volunteers and residents came together to save it and return it to the wild. Brittany Baldrica, a senior rescue biologist with Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), received a call that a dolphin had been stuck in a canal for four days and needed help. Following the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Baldrica and her team had to be careful not to feed or harass the dolphin, as this is illegal.
Knowing this, Baldrica and her team decided to monitor the dolphin for 18 days to make sure it was healthy and not in any danger. Realizing the dolphin needed rescue, Baldrica gathered a team of 28 biologists from the Clearwater Aquarium, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. On Wednesday, the team formed a human chain in the canal to block the dolphin's passage further upstream and encourage it to swim through a narrow culvert and out towards Tampa Bay. Also, the team created an auditory barrier to further entice the dolphin to swim away, with team members banging on boats and revving engines. Eventually, the dolphin chose to flee the canal, saving it from a life of losing its ability to fend for itself and potentially ending up as an aquarium resident.
The team was thankful to the residents who worked with them to protect the animal from harassment and provided access to their property. “We’re thankful to the residents in the area who worked with us to help protect the animal from harassment and provided access to their property while we monitored and rescued the animal,” CMA said in a press release. The rescue was a success and a reminder of how critical it is to protect marine mammals and their habitats. This incident is a testament to the fact that when people work together, wonderful things can happen. CMAs mission emphasizes the importance of human-dolphin interaction and the importance of conservation.
The rescue also highlights the importance of habitat protection and the need to ensure that dolphins and other marine mammals have enough space and resources to thrive. Habitat degradation and destruction are two of the greatest threats to marine mammals. Overfishing and pollution have caused a decrease in food resources, while coastal development and pollution have caused a decrease in suitable habitats.
In addition, marine mammals are often injured or killed in fishing gear, boat strikes and other human-caused activities. Marine mammals are also threatened by climate change, as rising sea levels lead to the destruction of their habitats. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine animals and the conservation of their habitats. Through their work, they seek to educate the public about marine conservation and the importance of protecting marine mammals and their habitats. Through education and conservation, CMA hopes to inspire people to take action and make a difference. By working together, we can protect dolphins and other marine mammals and ensure their habitats remain healthy for future generations.