Stranded dolphin driven across Anglesey in dramatic rescue

A stranded female dolphin was released back into the sea after being driven across Anglesey in a dramatic rescue that left bystanders utterly astonished. A second dolphin, thought to be the female’s calf, was also retrieved from a nearby beach.

Coastguard rescue teams (CRT) from Moelfre and Penmon were scrambled following reports of a dead dolphin at Pentraeth Beach. They were joined by medics from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), who discovered the adult female was still alive but had been stranded high up on the beach.

“The stranded dolphin was assessed and found to be in good shape even though she had been stuck for a few hours,” said a spokesperson for Moelfre CRT. “As the tide was still going out, the ability to re-float the dolphin at Pentraeth was not possible. It was felt the best option was to transfer the dolphin via road to Moelfre and attempt to re-float her there.”

The cetacean was carried to a waiting BDMLR trailer via a specialist stretcher before being taken on a seven-mile trip along Anglesey’s roads to Moelfre. The procession left some locals wide-eyed. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the convoy of vehicles go past,” said one local woman.

A member of the rescue team said the looks they got from startled onlookers brought a smile to everyone’s faces. “Myself and my colleague were in the trailer with the dolphin,” said BDMLR medic Gem Simmons. “We have to admit, everyone’s shocked faces did amuse us a bit.”

At Moelfre beach, the dolphin was lifted from the trailer and carried to the water’s edge and out into the bay. “After a few minutes, she was able to swim into deeper water quite happily,” said Moelfre CRT.

Shortly after the dolphin was released mid-afternoon yesterday, reports were received of a calf stranding on mudflats at Wern y Wylan beach a little way east of Pentraeth. 

The plucky youngster was found in marshland by a couple walking their dog. They were advised by Holyhead Coastguard to pour water on the calf to keep it moist.

Moelfre and Penmon CRTs raced to the scene with medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR). With the light fast fading, they moved the calf to a nearby river outlet to await the incoming tide.

Gem Simmons, BDMLR North Wales rescue coordinator, said: “Unfortunately darkness fell very quickly and for team safety we had to get off the salt marsh. The tide was still a very long distance out so we had no safe way to get him there in the dark.

Gem and her team returned the next morning to check for further sightings. With no signs or either dolphin, they agreed to return at low tide to double-check. “Fingers crossed for a Christmas miracle,” said Gem at the time.

Sadly, a body was later found washed up. The BDMLR suspect it is the calf and volunteers are retrieving it for a post-mortem examination. A Moelfre CRT spokesperson said: “Following attempts to refloat the calf at Wern y Wylan, sadly it would appear that our attempts were not successful on this occasion.”