Saving Captain Hook

Date posted: 04 October 2012

Members of the public are being reminded not to encourage dolphins close to shore by feeding them.

The caution follows an incident this week when a bottlenose dolphin was found trapped in shallow water during low tide at St Kilda, around 100 metres south of the breakwater.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary manager Cristina Vicente said the 35-year-old male dolphin named Captain Hook found himself trapped in pool of water at about 10:30am on Tuesday after low tide.

Ms Vicente said it was unclear why Captain Hook was trapped in shallow water, but the incident may have been fostered by people feeding dolphins.

“He may have been swimming around, fishing in the shallows and could have miscalculated the tides,” she said.

“He is an old animal and is generally found alone. He may be getting closer to shore to look for easy food or even to be fed.

“We have had reports of dolphins begging for food in the past, and we ask people not to encourage this behaviour.”

Ms Vicente said Captain Hook was successfully rescued after a five hour wait for high tide.

She said rangers from the DEWNR, Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, Aaron Machado from the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation and Mike Bossley from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) were involved in the rescue.

“The team decided the least stressful rescue action to take was to monitor the dolphin and wait for the tide to go up,” Ms Vicente said.

“To remove him from the pool would have been a dangerous and stressful process for the dolphin. At times the dolphin showed signs of stress, but was always in good condition until he found his way out naturally when the tide was high enough to connect his pool to the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary waters.”

Ms Vicente said while rescuers were waiting with Captain Hook they discovered he had a small hook in his mouth.

“DEWNR staff, volunteers and the WDCS will monitor the dolphin to make sure the hook won’t cause any health problems, but this incident was also a reminder against throwing fishing gear into waterways,” she added.

Members of the public who see a dolphin requiring assistance can contact the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary wildlife duty officer, 24 hours, on 1300 650 411. Quote page number (465 281).

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Alex Taylor
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