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Helpers praised in dolphin rescue


31st January 2006

Four marine volunteers from Devon and Cornwall have been praised for their help in freeing a dolphin in Cumbria.

Concerns had been raised about the health of the bottlenose dolphin, which had been trapped for nearly a month in Maryport Marina.

Following previous unsuccessful attempts, a decision was made to drain the marina and net the animal.

Tony Woodley, from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: "Their recent hands-on experience was vital."

It was afraid of the lock gates and couldn't be coaxed out
Dan Jarvis, Cornish volunteer  

The successful rescue mission took place on Monday and the dolphin, nicknamed Marra, was taken a mile out to sea on an RNLI rib before being released.
Mr Woodley said the South West team was asked to help when the decision was made to net the dolphin.

"We had to have the most experienced team as possible," he said.

"Although we have members all around the country, we needed those who had recent hand-on experience.

"Some of the team had been involved with the rescue of a bottlenose in Porthleven in Cornwall in December, so they had very recent experience and we knew the dolphin would be in the best hands."

Team effort

The volunteers included Lissa Goodwin, a marine biologist at the University of Plymouth and Devon co-ordinator for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Dan Jarvis, Tim Bain and Darryl Thorpe, who are all from Cornwall.

Dan Jarvis told BBC News the rescue had been a huge team effort, involving coastguards, RNLI, fire brigade, police, RSPCA and marine volunteers.

He said: "The rescue had to go ahead because the dolphin's health was beginning to deteriorate.  I don't think it had much luck in catching fish in the marina and it was afraid of the lock gates and couldn't be coaxed out."

Lissa Goodwin said the rescue went exactly as planned and believes the regular training and courses in the South West made a big difference.

After its release, the dolphin was spotted frolicking with a companion.

Mr Woodley said: "It was seen to meet up with another dolphin and they swam away together.  A really happy ending."

Rescuers managed to free Marra from the harbour
BBC News

Rescuers manage to release "Marra" from Maryport harbour