It is hard not to look in wonder when you see a dolphin fin skimming the top of the water when going to the beach or hanging out on a local pier. This year, though, has proven to be an unfortunately busy one when it comes to animals getting too close to the coast and getting stranded.
The first incident happened in July when a pod of pilot whales got stranded on East Beach on St. Simons Island. More than two dozen pilot whales beached themselves but through the efforts of the state Department of Natural Resources and a host of volunteers, most were able to be saved as three of them died.
Last weekend, a couple of surprise visitors managed to make their way into the water hazard around the 17th hole of Sea Palms Resorts’ golf course on St. Simons Island. A manatee and her calf got stranded in the area over the weekend, lured in by a combination of chilling ocean temperatures and the warmer temperatures in the hazard.
When spotted, alert bystanders did the right thing and called the DNR. The agents couldn’t locate the manatees on Saturday, but came back Monday and found the distressed duo.
From there, it was a coordinated effort from a lot of agencies — state DNR, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Sea World in Orlando all came together to find a way to save the manatees.
Despite their best efforts, the calf didn’t make it. The mother was, as of Tuesday afternoon, on her way to Sea World to recover. Hopefully she makes a full recovery and gets released back into the wild.
While we wish neither of these incidents would have happened, we are always amazed by how the community and various organizations come together to help these helpless marine mammals.
When the pilot whales were stuck, there were dozens of volunteers in the water trying to help get them back on the right track. When the manatees needed help, several government agencies and some private sector groups worked together to try to save them.
If everyone could bring that level of cooperation into their daily lives, this world would be a lot better place.