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Monday, June 24, 2024


Efforts Underway to Rescue Stranded Dolphin

Marine Mammal Stranding Center
This dolphin has been stranded in a creek in the area since at least May 16, when it was first reported to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. Efforts to rescue it so far have been unsuccessful.

By Karen Knight

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP – Attempts to rescue a bottlenose dolphin stranded in a Cape May County creek continued this week as the Marine Mammal Stranding Center prepared to use additional specialized equipment to help with the effort.

The Stranding Center has been monitoring the dolphin since it was first reported to its stranding hotline May 16.

Center staff and certified stranding volunteers have been checking on the dolphin multiple times daily. According to posts on the center’s website and Facebook pages, the center’s team was on the water May 18 in two boats trying to encourage the dolphin to move out. However, the animal would not leave the immediate area.

“We are working on different plans of action, and this morning (May 21) have received additional specialized equipment from one of our Stranding Network partners out of state,” said a Stranding Center statement posted on social media. “Another rescue attempt has been planned to occur by the end of this week.”

A woman who answered the telephone at the center May 22 said there was no one available to talk about the rescue and referred inquiries to the center’s social media pages. She did say the rescue with the new equipment “was in the works.”

According to the social media postings, the center “will not be sharing specific details about the proposed rescue plans and specific timeline, as we do not want unauthorized people to interfere with the rescue efforts or make any attempts to move the animal on their own, as that will put the dolphin and people at risk.

“We are reminding the public that dolphins are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Please do not attempt to approach the dolphin, as that will only further increase the stress on the animal and hamper rescue efforts. We are very appreciative of the local residents and officials who have been assisting MMSC.”

The woman at the Stranding Center said she did not know why the dolphin had come into the creek.

This is not the first dolphin reported in the same section of the creek, according to the center. “Local residents may recall a similar situation in August of 2016 with a bottlenose dolphin located in the same creek. In that case rescue efforts were successful and the dolphin was eventually returned to the bay.”

Because of films and TV shows like “Flipper” and decades of exploitation for human amusement, states that bottlenose dolphins are the most recognizable of all dolphin species. They are generally relatively large, chunky individuals with a dark gray back and paler belly. They have a short, stubby beak and that endearing mouth shape that makes them look as though they are smiling.

Contact the reporter, Karen Knight, at


Karen Knight is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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