Ensnared baby dolphin raises fears for marine life

By Victoria Ticha October 20, 2016
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A baby dolphin has been sighted near Cairns with marine debris wrapped around its neck.

A DOLPHIN SPOTTED with debris wrapped around its neck has prompted urgent warnings about the threat of nets and plastic waste. 

The baby dolphin was seen swimming alongside its mother near Cairns with the debris cutting deep into its skin.

Dr Isabel Beasley, from James Cook University in Queensland, said she spotted the calf while conducting research.

“During my recent survey work in the Cairns region I have unfortunately seen large amounts of litter in the water which can be fatal to marine creatures,” she said.

baby dolphin

The public has been asked to report any sightings of the ensnared calf. (Image: Isabel Beasley)

Trevor Long, Sea World’s Director of Marine Sciences, said marine debris entering waterways is to blame for a rising loss of marine life.

“We are asking the public to keep an eye out for the calf and report details of sightings to the appropriate authorities so we can monitor its movements and condition,” he said.

Darren Grover, WWF Australia National Species Manager, warned the calf could die unless the rope/net is cut free.

“Like many environmental organisations, WWF has long sought to warn people of the impacts of rubbish on marine life. Sadly, this is a prime example,” he said.

RELATED: Pulling the plug on plastic

Earlier this year The World Economic Forum released a report stating 250 million tonnes of plastic will be in the ocean by 2025, that’s at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leaking into the ocean each year – the equivalent to dumping one garbage truck into the ocean every minute.

While half of the world’s turtles have ingested marine debris, almost all of the world’s seabirds will have plastic in their stomachs by 2050.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation estimates that the cost of plastic in our oceans impacts tourism, fishing and shipping industries, costing our region roughly $1.3 billion.

Experts are urging locals to report any sightings of ensnared marine life to the RSPCA Hotline1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).