Orca, rescued in Sanday, Orkney, after stranding a rare dolphin

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On Sanday, Orkney, a dolphin was rescued on Monday morning. It is claimed that British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) in the UK will be the first successful rescue of an orca.

Local residents Colin and Heather Headworth found the animal and saw the dolphin trapped in the surf outside their home in the Bay of Newark near Tres Ness.

Stranded orcas do occur, but they are unbelievably uncommon.

The team assumes that this was a young male orca, about 3 to 4 years old, at 3.4 meters long, so it is no longer maternally based.

Orcas are seen fairly frequently around Orkney, and in fact, on Christmas Day, the North Isles 27s group was seen hunting seals near Elsness, Sanday.

Emma Neave-and Webb’s Imogen Sawyer’s pictures.

On arrival at the stranding site, the Orkney BDMLR team was alerted and noticed that the animal was indeed a juvenile orca in good health – but it was lying on its side in the surf, parallel to the shore, while the tide was rising rapidly.

Local people were called to assist, and the team righted the animal to make it easier to breathe to ensure that the blowhole came out of the water.

Paramedics were able to turn the animal when the tide came in, so that it faced the incoming sea and slid the new dolphin stretcher under the animal slowly.

It was successfully submerged after a couple of turns and made its way to the open sea.

“A statement posted on the BDLMR Facebook page said, “Paramedics were assured that the animal was no longer in the position after an hour of observation and hoped it would stay out.

“We will be monitoring the shoreline in the coming days just in case.”

We would like to thank paramedics Russell Neave and Imogen Sawyer and residents of Sanday Colin and Heather Headworth, Cath Swift and Simon Oldfield, Anna Halford and Martin Sawyer for their assistance, and for their advice from HM Coastguard.

Emma Neave-and Webb’s Imogen Sawyer’s pictures.

“Also, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us recently and enabled us to purchase much needed dolphin stretchers. This was their first deployment and it showed how important this equipment is. Without it, we really wouldn’t have been able to refloat an animal of this size.”

The team believes that this particular orca is not one of the resident pods of the North Islands, but is optimistic that it can live as a new juvenile that seems to have been fed.

“More personal protective equipment is urgently needed to assist in the rescue and to ensure the safety of the rescuers,” the team added.

You can do it here if you would like to donate to the team.

Emma Neave-and Webb’s Imogen Sawyer’s pictures.

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