Del Haven, NJ – A Pennsylvania family spent Christmas Day trying to rescue a dolphin just north of Cape May in the Delaware Bay.
Larry Macy and his family were on vacation at a home on the bay in Del Haven when they thought they saw a fin go by. The family stopped their holiday festivities and headed out to the beach. Once there, they realized the outgoing tide was stranding a dolphin on shore.
Macy, who works for the University of Pennsylvania as a systems administrator, says their first instinct was to try to get the dolphin back into the water. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center instructed the family simply to keep the dolphin wet with damp towels until help arrived.
In a short time, local firefighters and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center van were on the scene. A veterinarian who examined the dolphin determined that the animal was an older female, in the process of dying. Macy says although the dolphin did not survive, his family felt happy that they were able to assist the dolphin in its final moments.
Interestingly, the dolphin was not one of Cape May’s regular Bottle Nose Dolphins but a Common Dolphin, usually found just a little farther out in the ocean.
According to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, two or three Common Dolphins are washed ashore every year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Unit says Common Dolphins like warmer ocean waters not too far offshore. They’re often associated with the Gulf Stream Current.
Cape May’s ocean temperatures have been unseasonably warm so far this year.