Mass strandings of dolphins are mysterious — it’s not usually clear why they happen. Even worse, even with humans actively pushing the dolphins out to sea, they usually come back. In this case, humans used a novel strategy, using a baby dolphin as a lure for the whole pod.
Officers from Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) used a dolphin calf from the pod to lure it back out to sea. At time like this, it’s a shame that we haven’t yet rigged a live delphinese translator:
“This sand is so much warmer than the ocean — wait, what are those Jimmies doing over there?”
“They’ve taken my baby!”
“That’s it. After them! Everyone!”
This kidnapping ruse will probably be used again in the future, as it appears to have been successful: a spotter aircraft sent out the following day showed no sign of the dolphins. They have probably moved out to sea, following the unexpected interaction with those rude humans.
Takepart.com author David Kirby brings up an interesting possible variant on the kidnapped dolphin as rescuer — what about using a kidnapped calf to lure dolphins away from the Taiji Cove?