A beached dolphin has been put down after a desperate bid to try and save it at Brean during the early hours of this morning (Wednesday).
The male common dolphin was initially washed up alive at nearby Berrow on Tuesday afternoon when it was guided out to deeper water by BARB Search & Rescue’s marine mammal medics team, helped by two RNLI lifeguards and the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR).
It swam away, but beach walkers at Brean later spotted the dolphin again struggling in the surf during last night’s high tide – and BARB was called back to help at 9pm.
Extensive attempts were made to try and save the malnourished, weak mammal but sadly, after advice from BDMLR and a vet from Burnham’s Black Rock Surgery, it had to be put down.
“We are gutted and so disappointed – it was a marvellous creature and such an unusual sight here in the Bristol Channel,” said Wayne Kilgallon, one of several BARB crewmembers who are fully-trained marine mammal medics. “Everything possible was done to try and save it.”
And John Buck from BDMLR told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It’s very rare to see dolphins in this part of the Bristol Channel so there was some suspicion that it had something wrong with it. Unfortunately, in this case, the dolphin was malnourished and had several small injuries. It’s sad that this one had to be put down but nothing more could be done to save it.”
Earlier in the day, when the dolphin was first seen at Berrow, it was hoped that the mammal was simply disorientated and would not come back on the next high tide.
“After being guided out to the deeper water, he swam around us before heading off,” added Wayne.
Coastguards had been called amid concerns that spectators on the beach may put themselves at risk by attempting to help.
The lifeguards kept the dolphin afloat in shallow water before BARB’s team treated it and guided it into the deeper water.
Three of the BARB crew are trained and qualified Marine Mammal Medics, having received full training from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), enabling them to oversee porpoise and dolphin strandings in the area.
Several porpoises have been washed up and rescued during recent years along Burnham-On-Sea’s coastline but this was the first dolphin for many years.
Pictured: Top, the scenes on Brean beach early this morning (photos BARB) and, above, on Berrow beach on Tuesday afternoon (photo RNLI)