A community raced to rescue after a dolphin was trapped and in trouble. However, officials warned that doing the right thing isn’t always the safest.
“I was outside walking my dog and I heard a dolphin blow hole underneath the neighbor’s dock across the water,” Kandra Covert said.
Covert said she noticed that the dolphin was there for a while and made a lot of noise.
“I see across the water there’s a rope hanging off my neighbor’s dock and it starts pulling really tight multiple times and I’m like, ‘There’s got to be a dolphin stuck under there,'” she said.
That’s when she called her neighbor, Monte Cline, for help.
“It appeared that whatever he was wrapped up in was also wrapped around the piling, so he could barely get his blow hole above the water,” Cline said.
Soon after, several of their Clearwater neighbors sprang into action.
“Our neighbor was already one a kayak, he was getting in the water, he had a pair of scissors in his mouth,” Covert said.
Neighbors said they tried to free the dolphin for about 15 minutes.
“What we ended up doing, without realizing, was we ended up unwrapping him from the piling, gave him some motion and then he was able to free himself,” Cline said.
Neighbors then turned the net over to officials. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined it was a gill net, which is illegal and was banned from Florida’s waters, back in 1995.
Using this type of net is a felony.
“Don’t intervene on your own,” said Brittany Baldrica, senior rescue biologist at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. “I know that most people do it because they want to help. But the biggest thing that you can do to help is just call for help, so that way trained responders can do whatever needs to be done.”
“We want to help, we want to save and you know we sprung into action as quick as possible,” Covert said.
While officials continue to investigate, they’re encouraging people not to jump in the water to help if they see something like this again for both human and animal safety.
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