Unsuccessful dolphin rescue
By BIANCA CLARE
DESPITE the best efforts of rescuers, a female Risso's dolphin, that stranded itself in shallow water off Macauley's Headland at Coffs Harbour, has died.
The Risso's dolphin was discovered in a distressed condition at 6am yesterday by walkers who alerted the Pet Porpoise Pool and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
Pet Porpoise Pool senior curator Greg Pickering said the Risso's dolphin couldn't swim or maintain an upright position.
"It was showing classic signs of an underlying illness as it was suffering from weight loss and pain," Mr Pickering said.
"Risso's dolphin's are a deep water oceanic species that grow up to four metres long.
"This species lacks a distinctive beak and has a blunt rounded forehead.
"Generally they only come inshore to die."
The Risso's dolphin was transported at 7.30am by the NPWS to the calm waters of Coffs Creek where Pet Porpoise Pool staff and the NPWS made the mammal more comfortable.
Several umbrellas were used to provide shade and water was gently poured onto it to cool it down.
Coffs Harbour Veterinary Hospital vet Vicky McClure was called to sedate the Risso's dolphin.
It died shortly later at 9.30am.
NPWS Coffs Coast ranger Ann Walton, said that almost all cases of stranded marine mammals which involved single animals resulted in them dying.
"In the vast majority of situations like this the animals are injured or debilitated in some way and despite the often intensive efforts of rescuers they inevitably die," she said.
"While this is unfortunate and disheartening for those involved, it is a natural process."
A post mortem was performed by vet Vicky McClure yesterday afternoon to determine the cause of death.
The Australian Museum is interested in the dolphin for research.