Rescuing dolphins

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by Susana Díez

Posted on November 14, 2019

Rescuing dolphins

When it comes to rescue dolphins, we are willing to make any effort. What happened recently in Florida proves it. Volunteers in St. Petersburg, Florida, are being lauded for a job well done after helping a group of dolphins find their way out of a canal and back to their home in more open waters.

With some frequency, dolphins have difficulty returning to the sea. It is not known exactly what is the reason for the loss of orientation. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and Clearwater Marine Aquarium reported the presence of 4 dolphins in the canal on Sunday. They waited to see if the animals would find their way out on their own with the tide, it became clear by Monday that they would need some assistance. The canal area in Florida has very little salinity, so dolphins cannot stay long into it. The animals were two mothers with their respective offspring that were swimming around the canal. Dolphins normally use echolocation to find their routes. By using echolocation, they can determine where an object is, how far it is, whether it is above or below them, how fast it is moving, what direction it is moving in and whether the object is hollow or dense. The reason they thought they couldn't find their way was the bridges over the canal. They are very close to the surface and the mothers probably identified them as barriers. The problem was also aggravated by the acoustic contamination that the area has.

Rescuers explained to the gathered group of volunteers that their objective would be to try to encourage the dolphins with a human chain of people slowly moving up the canal as a barrier. The human chain would serve to guide them along the path that led to the bay. This noisy barrier approached the dolphins and left the right way free. The mission took about 45 minutes before the animals were successfully on their way into Riviera Bay, which feeds back out into Tampa Bay. The dolphin reaction was very fast. They immediately understood how to find the way out. They didn't stop, they didn't look back, they didn't hesitate for a second. Once they were through, they were headed for home.

Some volunteers had doubts about not using a network. The difficulty of the rescue for the participants was to keep the chain together. Although there were some difficult moments, everyone congratulated each other at the end.

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