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Stranded dolphins saved by beachgoers
March 24, 2012 8:53 AM   Subscribe


 
Context from HuffPo
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:55 AM on March 24, 2012


Considering we probably fucked up their sonar in the first place as a result of trashing our oceans, it's only fair that we pitch in and help out these beautiful creatures.
posted by Fizz at 9:13 AM on March 24, 2012


how I know I am getting PMS'd:

01. watch dramatic dolphin rescue that would normally just make me say FUCK YEAH DOLPHINS and high five the screen
02. weep inconsolably from the majesty of nature
03. repeat
posted by elizardbits at 9:18 AM on March 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I kept thinking it seemed almost rude. Like, what if a bunch of dolphins pushed some swimming humans back on to the beach.

"Oh no. No you don't. Get back up there."
posted by Toekneesan at 9:24 AM on March 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I wonder how this scenario would have played out in Japan?
posted by Flashman at 9:24 AM on March 24, 2012


Dolphins are strong swimmers, and smart. That was an evil current. But I see no rip tide and the dolphins swim straight up onto the beach. They don't appear to be chasing a school of fish. The booming noise in the background might be related.
posted by stbalbach at 9:41 AM on March 24, 2012


The booming noise in the background might be related.

They were all rushing up to shore to see the new HD trailer for Prometheus.
posted by elizardbits at 10:08 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Not worthy of a post on its own, but seems to fit in here: Secret Service folks helping out some ducklings.
posted by inigo2 at 10:17 AM on March 24, 2012




I see no rip tide and the dolphins swim straight up onto the beach.

Yes, my money is on this being caused by either sonar or oil exploration. Marine mammals rely heavily on acoustics to communicate, navigate and explore their environment. This is an area where very little research has been done, particularly compared to the billions being spent on finding oil.
posted by Lanark at 10:22 AM on March 24, 2012


Incredible. Notice how it seems like most of the dolphins stop struggling when they realize what the humans are trying to do. Not to mention the spontaneous emergence of intelligent behavior in a human crowd.
posted by cmoj at 10:24 AM on March 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


And the humans pitched in to help so quickly!
posted by francesca too at 10:29 AM on March 24, 2012


Apparently an earthquake caused this.

Crank? "But the scientists never talk about barosinusitis and the loss of the ability to echo-navigate. The question is: Are marine mammal scientists purposefully misleading the public? The answer is yes and you can read about it here".
posted by eddydamascene at 10:45 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are marine mammal scientists purposefully misleading the public?

Are some people pretending to be marine biologists to get dates?
posted by found missing at 11:04 AM on March 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


This was so distressing for me to watch. I mean, obviously it was great that they were rescued, but before anyone really started doing anything I was sitting here with my hands over my mouth trying not to yell at the computer screen. I mean, they're panicking. Right there. I wouldn't have been able to just stand on that beach like some of those onlookers, and please note I don't mean to blame any of them for this--the situation got pretty well in hand pretty early on, and most of their help probably wasn't even needed. But I would've been flailing around in the surf probably instantly trying to help, and for every second any of those dolphins were in duress I'd have been kind of freaking out, myself.

Notice how it seems like most of the dolphins stop struggling when they realize what the humans are trying to do.

That struck me too, especially one of the last dolphins that ended up furthest up on the beach. As soon as the person grabbed its tail it stopped struggling.

I'm glad I watched it knowing the outcome in advance or else I would probably be curled up under my desk right now from the stress of it.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:04 AM on March 24, 2012


But I see no rip tide and the dolphins swim straight up onto the beach. They don't appear to be chasing a school of fish.

Dolphins have enormous brains, and they seem to communicate among themselves. I've wondered for awhile now if these mass beachings aren't protest movements, the equivalent of monks self-immolating in Tibet.
posted by Malor at 11:18 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crank?

I was getting ready to post the same excerpt, classic sign of a crank, an outsider claiming superior knowledge and paranoia of insiders covering up. Maybe this guy is right, it's a plausible sounding theory, but he could just be making it up as a joke and I wouldn't know the difference. My understanding was scientists are not really sure why whales and dolphins beach in pods, though there are various theories such as one sick member and the rest follow out of loyalty.
posted by stbalbach at 11:24 AM on March 24, 2012


It was neat how the solution of drag-'em-backwards-by-their-tails seemed to just emerge out of nowhere. I'm not sure that that would have occurred to me.
posted by carter at 12:11 PM on March 24, 2012


Thirty stranded dolphins agree, beachgoers are nice people.
posted by punkfloyd at 12:25 PM on March 24, 2012


carter: "It was neat how the solution of drag-'em-backwards-by-their-tails seemed to just emerge out of nowhere. I'm not sure that that would have occurred to me."

Considering a dolphin weighs about 300 lbs (at least it seems so from my limited Internet searching) the dragging solution would have occurred to you the second you tried to lift one and noticed the fins preclude any rolling.
posted by Defenestrator at 12:55 PM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Elsewhere in Brazil: Dolphin Assisted Fishing
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm voting crank. That webpage claims to know how many members of the pod had been eaten by sharks in the days between the supposed earthquake and the beaching. So: crank, unless the webpage is written by one of the dolphins.
posted by Scram at 1:22 PM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


That webpage claims to know how many members of the pod had been eaten by sharks in the days between the supposed earthquake and the beaching. So: crank, unless the webpage is written by one of the dolphins.

I'm afraid we have to consider one final, horrifying possibility: Captain David Williams is a shark.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:27 PM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


A lifetime ago, I lived on the west coast of Florida, mid-way down the state, a small place on Clearwater Beach. Mid-1970s, Florida was economically devastated, a huge crash hit in what had been a huge building boom, everything fell flat, Florida then like the entire country was three years ago. It seems I picked the exact wrong time to live in Florida. I'm an interesting man.

For a week or two -- three? -- I worked in Sarasota, right on the water, an eight or ten story condo under construction, hustling 12 foot sheets of 5/8 inch drywall up into that building, which amounted to getting a good-sized stack of it ready to be lifted, then making sure it was well-balanced as the crane began to lift it, then haul ass up the stairs to whatever floor, where the sheetrock was of course waiting for us (keeping that damn crane stopped dead, so everybody's eyes were on us, and not happy eyes, either, these weren't festive eyes; no, these were impatient eyes, these were eyes that'd tap their foot if they had one) and then getting that sheetrock off those slings as fast as was humanly possible, and then, the crane gone on its way, we distributed the sheetrock we'd dumped right at the window, moved it all around the floor to where it'd be needed as construction progressed. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

And of course it got progressively worse as we moved up the building, more stairs to climb as fast as we could. It was brutally hard work and just the two of us doing it, we were pouring sweat of course but more than just that, you get to where you're sortof shaking, maybe small tremorings a better description, ears ringing, heart banging, fingers numbed. It was a fun time but I ate; I've found that I'm generally a lot happier when I have food.

At lunch (and on breaks if break-time found me on the building, and not down on the ground) I'd go as high as I could get in that building, lean back against the steel, boots off, one foot over the side, I'd eat my peanut butter sandwiches and look out over the gulf, a scene of tranquil beauty. And one of the most beautiful pieces in it is when the dolphins would go arcing past. They're so beautiful, they're so graceful, they helped make it easier to love the saltwater that I was so new to, they made it easier for me to learn to love Florida, after the initial infatuation; being so broke trashed that initial thing fast. I could have watched them all day long, sitting there in the sunshine, flashing glints off that salt, white sand, gulf breezes, and pretty much the only sound was that of those breezes, and the squawking gulls when I'd toss them bits of my sandwich; all of that somehow unhooked the deep tired, not only enabled but facilitated deep rest, body and spirit, before heading back down those fucking stairs.

That deep rest, those too-short minutes in the sun watching those dolphins, that's one of my favorite memories of that time of my life. When I think of dolphins I think of Florida, and not the hard parts of it as much as sunny parts glinting at me, A1A in my little heart. Watching dolphins makes me happy but more than just that, they're so cool, I just like them so much. Dolphins are the best.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:34 PM on March 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Did anyone else notice that all the humans towing dolphins back into the water appeared to be male, and that all the female humans in the clip apparently watched from shore? I'm not even sure what that means. Perhaps nothing. Just seemed odd to me.
posted by azaner at 8:40 PM on March 24, 2012


I'm no marine biologist, but I've lived on the coast all my life and been to a couple talks on this issue. The thing is that as nice as this incident is, the dolphins might end up stranding again the next day or a little farther down the beach right after getting pulled back into the deep water.

We have absolutely terrible understandings of why and when this happens (there have been studies about sonar, wind, currents, toxins, vibrations, all sorts of things and it's been hard to establish a conclusive pattern about what screws dolphins up).

There is a cove on Cape Cod where strandings happen so regularly that volunteers kind of have battle fatigue after unstranding small whales and dolphins. There's no easy way to point to shipping, earthquakes, sound, temperature or any such thing. Sometimes a single animal or pod of animals strands repeatedly. I'm glad these guys seem to have got on their way, but there's a risk in celebrating the heartwarming piece of video that people remain uninformed about the larger phenomenon.

Also, though we tend to point to recent technologies or environmental conditions as causes of strandings, there are primary source documents in North America detailing enormous stranding events going back to the 1600s at least. It appears to be something that happens, and though documentation has improved, not all strandings are or have been witnessed or recorded in the same way, and so it's pretty hard to get a sense of how much stranding is 'normal,' and where - let alone why.

Long story short, if you're somewhere where marine mammals are stranding, you want to call or Google NOAA and/or Sea Grant, who operate the marine mammal stranding alert services in coastal states. In all US coastal areas there are teams of volunteers with good equipment who are trained to respond to strandings in a way that saves lives and also catalyzes other helpful responses such as tracking, cross-agency coordination, flyovers, etc. which not only work on the immediate problem but also contribute to the body of research that helps us understand and prevent more sea mammal loss.
posted by Miko at 8:59 PM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


As I watched them drag the dolphins back out, I though to myself, "Man, I bet that puts a lot of sand in their gills." Then I realized I'm a deeply stupid person.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:29 PM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]




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