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Volunteers coordinate to free six month old dolphin of nautical rope seen in Sian Ka’an waters

Costa Maya, Q.R. — A six month old dolphin seen swimming with a nautical rope around its body has been freed. On Thursday, a group of volunteers and local fishermen along with federal authorities were able to quickly capture the dolphin and cut free the rope before returning it to the sea.

Three fishing boats met in Sian Ka’an waters Thursday where they located the baby dolphin swimming with its mother. From their boats, they could see the black rope around the upper part of its body.

Casting a large fishing net and working fast, the three boats were coordinated to capture only the baby dolphin that was quickly hauled into one of the boats while the rope was cut away.

Once freed, the dolphin was released back into the sea where he quickly rejoined his family. The dolphin had been reported to authorities since July 29 when local fishermen first began seeing the group and noticing the baby with the black rope.

The dolphin was seen in the Punta Allen area of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, reported vererinarian Roberto Sánchez Okrucky. He said the dolphin was a baby bottle nose. He was traveling with his mother and 10 other dolphins.

Tourist services boats Vigía Grande, Punta Allen and Vigía Chico participated in the rescue along with Aquademia, the Quintana Roo Stranding Network, the Association of Specialists in Marine Mammals and AMHMAR (Association of Habitats for Interaction with Marine Mammals).

“The rope was believed to have been part of an old crab trap. It was found stuck, attached to the dorsal fin and the right pectoral fin,” Okarucky explained.

Once the calf was freed from the rope, it reintegrated into its social group. One of the boats even followed them to make sure the animals were in good condition, he said.

“We saved a baby that had no chance of long-term survival with this rope wrapped around its body because little by little, it would incarnate into its skin and prevent its growth,” Okrucky said.