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CMA helps guide dolphin out of creek to open waters

Clearwater Marine Aquarium's rescue team first began monitoring the dolphin on Jan. 1 to assess its health.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A team of 28 biologists formed a human chain to successfully guide a dolphin to open waters after it became stuck in a residential creek in Clearwater.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium worked with NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to help the dolphin to safety this week, CMA said in a news release. 

The aquarium's rescue team began monitoring the dolphin daily on Jan. 1 to assess its behavior, body condition and environment and noted that the animal was in good condition with normal respiration rates. The dolphin was displaying normal behavior such as foraging. 

While the biologists were watching the dolphin, it never left the creek.

"This posed potential long-term problems for the animal, such as isolation from other dolphins and an increased risk of harassment and human interactions," CMA explained in a news release. "Therefore, NOAA determined it would be in the animal’s best interest to intervene to help the animal leave the area."

Neighbors in the area helped the rescue team by providing access to their property and protecting the animal from harassment. The team of 28 biologists formed a human chain standing shoulder to shoulder with no gaps to create a visual and sound barrier. 

"He went through!" You can hear one biologist say after the dolphin swam off. The rest of the biologists and rescue team cheered in response to the good news.

CMA says if you see an animal in distress to contact your local wildlife rescue organization. You can reach CMA's 24-hour rescue line is 727-441-1790, ext. 1.

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