Clock Ticking

The clock is ticking for Moville’s porpoise, Dylan. Anthony Craig, who has rescued Dylan three times from the shore and put it back in the water was told by an expert that he shouldn’t put it back in the water again if it gets beached.

The next high tide is at 5:14pm tonight. If Dylan is washed ashore again then the instructions are to just leave it there.

Local Veterinary Medicine student, Rhea McLaughlin, who lives between the Bredagh River and lough Foyle and who got into the water to help Dylan yesterday, has surfed the internet for advice for when a dolphin or porpoise is beached.


Here is the advice from which is an American institution:-

“A “stranded” dolphin is one that is beached on land or in very shallow water and cannot swim away on its own. If you should ever find an animal in this situation that is still alive, it is in distress and needs your help. Dolphins typically strand because of an injury or illness, and generally will die without expert assistance.”

“Rule of thumb: Leave the animal exactly where it is until help arrives. If the dolphin is injured you could cause further damage by moving it. You may have to help hold it upright, keeping it’s blowhole above water. DO NOT PUSH THE ANIMAL BACK INTO THE WATER. The dolphin stranded for a reason and needs help. Please be aware that when an animal strands, it may be sick. Therefore, please use every precaution to protect yourself from any infectious diseases.

. To reduce stress to the animal, do not allow people to touch the dolphin until the IMMS stranding response team arrives. Keep pets and excess on-lookers away from the animal. Refrain from touching the animal unnecessarily. Remember, it is a wild animal and is not used to human “petting”.

. Dolphins can overheat fast so their skin needs to stay cool and wet. Water needs to be poured over the skin, but AVOID the blowhole. Make sure to avoid getting water or debris in the blowhole, keeping it free from obstruction so the animal can breathe.

. T-shirts or towels soaked in cold/cool water can be put on the dolphin, but DO NOT COVER the dorsal fin, pectoral fins, tail flukes, and blowhole. Before applying a wet towel, cut a slit large enough for the dorsal fin to fit through and lay it on the animal. Make shade for the animal out of anything available, e.g. a tarp or beach umbrella.

. Dolphins’ bodies are not made to rest on land, so to make them more comfortable you need to dig a small hole under each pectoral fin. You can also dig a hole under the chest region and fill the hole with water. This will relieve pressure on the animal’s fins and lungs yet still support the chest.

. Stay away from the face and tail flukes. A dolphin’s tail is the most powerful part of its body and can cause serious injury. Dolphins are very strong and muscular animals. Under NO circumstances should you attempt to hold the tail. Be aware that dolphins can move their heads from side to side and if they hit you with their rostrum/beak (jawbone) while shaking their head, you can be badly hurt. They also have needle-sharp teeth and they will bite if they feel threatened.”


It seems it can be helped but as we don’t know any porpoise experts anywhere near Moville in Donegal there is no one to turn to and Dylan will have to be just left on the shore to die.

If there is anyone out there who knows how to treat ill or injured porpoises please get in touch. It’s not something that we have had to deal with in Moville before.

porpoise 1

porpoise 5