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MARS Responders stabilizing the dolphins in the shallow water. Photo: MARS

Stranded dolphin pod rescued from McNutts Island

By Evan Taylor Aug 18, 2022 | 12:48 PM

The Marine Animal Response Society (MARS) was notified on Sunday, August 14 around 10:00 a.m. that a pod of dolphins had been stranded in a cove near McNutt’s Island near Shelburne.

“When we got the call we knew time was against us, with this taking place on one of the days in the middle of the recent heatwave,” said MARS specialist Andrew Reid.

Reid and his team quickly gathered their gear and set off to locate the dolphins.

Upon arrival, they found the group of people who first reported the dolphins, who Reid says were hugely helpful in ensuring the dolphins stayed off the rocks in the shallow pool they were trapped in.

MARS believes the dolphins became stranded by the outgoing tide after following a school of mackerel into Hagars Cove which is a narrow v-shaped basin that is cut off from the ocean at low tide.

It is believed the dolphin became trapped in Hagars Cove after the tide went out. Photo: Google Maps

“When we arrived there was still enough water to cover the dolphins, but the tide was still going out so we decided they needed to be moved,” said Reid.

The dolphins were then loaded onto an ATV with the use of “dolphin stretchers” and transported to the side of the island facing the Atlantic Ocean.

MARS Responders, volunteers, and the Shelburne C&P Detachment team carefully lifting a dolphin onto the trailer for relocation. Photo: MARS

Volunteers then held the dolphins in the release location while the others could be transported over. “It’s important with social animals like dolphins that we release them together, especially in this case as we believe this pod of five was a family,” said Reid.

MARS does not tag their releases so Reid says they can’t know for sure but based on what he saw from the dolphins prior to their release he believes they are now healthy and safe.

Although this rescue was successful Reid says the people who found the dolphins told him they were trying to figure out who to call for hours before finally getting a hold of MARS.

Reid says anyone in Nova Scotia who comes across a marine animal in distress should contact MARS first as they lead all marine wildlife rescues in the region and in most cases every minute is valuable.

MARS can be reached by calling 1-866-567-6277, they operate daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m..





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