Most people know what to do when they find a stray dog. We’re all pretty familiar with dogs, and most people will try to coax the pup to them so they can take them somewhere safer, get them scanned for a microchip, and find out who they belong to.
There’s general protocol to follow: Don’t chase after a dog that’s not coming to you, because it may run into traffic to escape from you. Try using food to get the dog’s attention, don’t make direct eye contact, and offer to pet it in non-threatening spots (aka, not its head).
Some well-meaning people don’t know the best way to approach a lost dog. Despite that, many people end up catching the dogs and getting them home, while others suffer from bites or inadvertently make the dog’s situation worse and lower the likelihood that it will let someone get close to it again.
The rarer the animal, the less likely we’ll know how to best approach a rescue scenario. This situation involving a dolphin illustrates that.
The video opens to a dolphin thrashing around in the rocky shallows. It’s somehow managed to get itself stuck in the plants and rocks, and as the waves come in they push it further inland.
There are many reasons dolphins and whales get into these situations and ultimately end up beached. Some specialists say it’s because the animals get disoriented when exposed to sonar.
Sometimes it’s because certain species of dolphins hunt by chasing small fish into shallow water where they can catch them.
Others times beaching happens when the animal is sick or dying, and is unable to get back into deep water. If multiple dolphins or whales get stranded, poisoning or rampant disease is another possibility.
This particular dolphin wasn’t assessed, so we have no idea what exactly caused it to run aground, but there it was, and it needed help.
Two young women wandered out to try to help the poor creature, but they were barefoot on sharp rocks and weren’t strong or stable-footed enough to help it.
Next, a young man wearing shoes waded out and tried to usher the dolphin back out toward the sea, but it got away from him and swam back toward the shore.
Last — but not least — an older gentleman strides past the young man, puts his hands under the dolphin, and keeps pushing it to deeper water until the waves are above his waist and the dolphin tears out into the ocean.
The International Fund For Animal Welfare strongly advises that helping stranded dolphins be left to specialists, as more often than not, dolphins that find themselves stranded are in need of medical attention. Sending them back out into open water without being treated is often sending them to their deaths.
On top of that, dolphins are easily stressed out by being around people, and in many places it’s just plain illegal to interact with them.
The good Samaritans’ hearts were in the right place, and hopefully this particular critter just made a miscalculation while swimming or hunting, was otherwise healthy, and is back out in the ocean where it belongs.
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