Dolphin tangled in crab pot buoy line is freed

Crab traps are great when they capture the right species, not so great when they trap dolphins. Since 2004, Georgia has documented 10 cases where dolphins have somehow tangled their tails in the buoy line of crab pots, and most of the time the mammals were able to be disentangled and released unharmed.

Such was the case of a distressed dolphin spotted by a group of Savannah, Georgia, paddleboarders on the Vernon River.

“They were worried the dolphin might drown because the crab pot buoy line was wrapped tightly around its tail and the weight of the crab pot was acting like an anchor,” Clay George, wildlife biologist with the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources, told GrindTV Outdoor in an email.

So, they paddled back to the dock and alerted the DNR, which immediately jumped into action to save the struggling dolphin. Watch as wildlife officials from the DNR and University of Georgia Marine Extension Service work together to give a dolphin its life back:

The incident occurred on the tidal river on September 16, but Georgia Wildlife just posted the video Monday. It clearly shows how quickly the rescuers did their job.

“The time from when rescuers snagged the pot line to when the line was cut and the dolphin freed was right at 2 minutes, as shown on the video,” George said. “Securing and removing the crab pot, pulling the dolphin’s flukes out of the water to immobilize it, and assessing the orientation of the entanglement took about 1 1/2 minutes.

“It’s important that disentanglement responses are done quickly, but also deliberately, to ensure that the dolphin is completely disentangled, and that no responders are injured in the process.”

You probably noticed the dolphin was bleeding, but George said it wasn’t seriously injured.

“The bleeding on the dolphin’s tail appeared to be caused from abrasions where the crab pot buoy line constricted and rubbed against its skin,” George said. “We suspect these wounds were superficial and likely healed soon after disentanglement. The dolphin was swimming normally after it was disentangled, which further indicates it was not seriously injured.”

Great save, Georgia wildlife officials, great save.

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