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Let's run through a hypothetical situation. You're walking on a beach and you see a dolphin, beached there. It's struggling for life and will soon die if not helped out in some way.
What do you do? You immediately try to get it back into the sea, so it can swim off, right? Wrong.
Apparently, that's not what you should do, according to new guidance from the RSPCA. It might sound a bit difficult to believe, but it's not always the best thing to do.
Recently, a load of struggling dolphins were found close to beaches in west Wales, and people did the only thing that they thought was right, they helped them back out to deeper water and into the open sea.
The problem is, a lot of people assume that dolphins only beach themselves by accident, or because they get lost. That's not always the case.
Sometimes they beach themselves because they are ill or are close to dying. This poses two problems, because humans can catch some illnesses from dolphins as they are mammals as well.
So, what are you supposed to do? Well, not THIS for starters.
What they're saying is that you should just call the RSPCA and let them deal with the situation.
In the case of the dolphins in west Wales, one of them was found a few days later, dead. This dolphin could possibly have been saved if the RSPCA had been called.
Obviously the people who put the dolphins back didn't do anything wrong, they just did what they thought was best, and it actually wasn't.
In a statement, Ellie West, an RSPCA animal collection officer, said: "In many ways, it is a source of great pride that people across west Wales love wild animals and want to help
"But returning a beached cetacean to the sea can be hugely counter-productive. People are obviously well-meaning in doing this - but usually it is the wrong thing to do for the animals, and their welfare."
So, there you have it. If you see a dolphin on a beach, call the proper authorities rather than throwing it back into the sea.
It might seem like the right thing to do, and leaving it there struggling might seem cruel, but it's better for your own safety to follow the RSPCA's advice.
It's also better for the safety of the poor animal to leave it well alone until the people who actually know what they are doing get there.
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