What Happens After They Swim Away?
Releasing a stranded animal is always an exhilarating experience, but there is a wide range of emotions that go through our heads whenever an animal is released. Often there is an initial sigh of relief after the arduous task of recovering, stabilizing, and transporting the dolphins. As you stand in the surf, squinting your eyes to try and spot a dorsal fin in the suns glare another question starts to quietly pop up in the back of your head. “How will I know if they’re ok?” Responders will ask themselves. As the dorsal fins disappear among the swells that question becomes a nagging one that’s always in the back of your mind. It used to be that if a stranded animal came ashore deceased you pretty much knew the rescue was a failure and if you never saw the animal again you hoped everything was ok.
Nowadays with satellite tracking technology we’re able to affix a tag to an animal and accurately assess our level of success. One of the dolphins rescued the other day was outfitted with a tag that transmits it’s location at regular intervals. Our partners at the New England Aquarium capture this data and insert it into a map to check in on its location. In this map you can see the first transitions from the tag and by first impression it’s looks to be headed away from land. A very good sign!