A dolphin calf that became stranded in ankle-deep water in the Mandurah Sanctuary south of Perth has been put down following failed attempts to find its mother.
A member of the public found the dolphin just after 6:00am on Saturday and notified the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW).
Volunteers spent the day tending to the dolphin and moving it to deeper water in the hope its mother would hear its call.
Overnight the calf was placed in a sea-pen for protection, but DPAW said it had become increasingly distressed.
Murdoch University researchers have been studying dolphins in the area and are familiar with the local pods.
It had been hoped they would be able to locate the young dolphin’s pod, so it could be returned to its mother, but that has not happened.
The eight-week-old bottlenose dolphin was brought to shore and put down today.
DPAW wildlife officer Matt Swan said the animal had not fed in more than 24 hours.
“They’re expected to suckle to mum every hour, so it’s gone a significant time without food,” he said.
“A vet was taken down to the location and assessed the animal, and the prognosis was determined to be not good, and in fact any decision to release the animal or put the animal back out to deep water was likely to prolong the pain and suffering.”
Mr Swan thanked the volunteers who assisted the calf, including those who stayed with it overnight.
“The volunteers were fundamental in helping Parks and Wildlife make the best possible decision we could for this animal and we’re very grateful for that.”
The calf’s remains will now be used for research at Murdoch University.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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