Why was this baby dolphin killed by National Marine Services?

Having only just been rescued, a stranded baby dolphin was euthanized by local veterinarians who believed the calf would not recover.

On Friday morning, the small dolphin was discovered alone in the upper Elkhorn Slough (South of San Francisco, California) with its mother nowhere in sight. Witnesses say the little dolphin was swimming continuously in circles with a confused look on its face.

At 8:30 am, the witnesses called the local Center for Marine Services, but agents said that they could not intervene unless the animal was stranded. It was not until 3 pm that they finally dispatched a team to rescue the dolphin that by now had beached itself on a sandbar. Personnel did not reach the Slough until 4:30 pm.

By that time, the sun had begun to set. Between the dim light and thick mud that engulfed the baby dolphin, responders decided that they could not reach the animal at that point in time. It would have to wait until the next morning.

On Saturday morning, after an exhaustive search for the baby’s mother, the rescue team finally removed the struggling animal from the Slough and brought it to nearby marine veterinarians. Being away from its mother for such a long time, the baby was in bad shape. Its health continued to deteriorate, even in the veterinarians’ care.

A pre-weaned dolphin cannot survive in the wild by itself and the fight for its life that lasted over 24 hours significantly drained the poor creatures’ little strength. The vets at the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center decided putting the animal down would be the most humane choice.

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