Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 16:44 UK

Rescuers save stranded dolphins

Stranded dolphins
Three adult dolphins became stranded in a bay

Three dolphins have been been helped back to deeper water after becoming stranded in shallows in the Western Isles, the Scottish SPCA has said.

The charity, firefighters and local people helped to refloat the animals.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) believed the mammals to be white beaked dolphins.

They became stranded in a bay on Grimsay, North Uist. Two younger dolphins in the same group were swimming freely in shallow water.

At one point the three adults were refloated, but one stranded itself a second time.

However, the Scottish SPCA said the rescue had ended successfully.

Health problems

Because of problems getting a local vet to the scene, photographs of the mammals were sent to BDMLR's senior consultant vet for assessment.

BDMLR's Trevor Weeks said if the animals were to strand again this would be an indication that one, or all of them, were suffering from health problems.

He said the stranded dolphins may have to be put down.

Mr Weeks said: "Mass strandings commonly occur due to a dominant male or female which is sick or ill and the others following.

"This may be the case with this situation. It may also be a situation where the dolphin just needs more time to recover its equilibrium and balance before being refloated."

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