You are here: HomeRescues → 2005, 11 May, Common dolphin, Wellington’s Bay, Northland

Common dolphins are typically found in small to large groups, not as individuals.  It is unclear why this one was alone, however once taken out to sea and released it swam off towards the Poor Knight Islands.

A prompt call from an observer at Wellington's Bay, near Tutukaka had the Whale Rescue team on site within minutes.  The dolphin was found to be alert but apparently disorientated.

Once it became stranded it was moved into the calmest part of the Bay and kept wet until a boat from Dive Tutukaka arrived to take it out to sea.  Measurements taken during this time found it to be 1.9 m long.  The dolphin was taken approximately 3km off shore and gently lowered into the water, whilst being supported by two swimmers. 

It was held for 5 minutes and moved in a slow circle to allow it to flex its muscles and orientate to the area.  Once released it rolled onto its side then immediately uprighted itself and swam towards a piece of floating seaweed, which it inspected as it swam past.  The dolphin then was observed underwater to swim strongly and headed towards the Poor Knight Islands, an area where common dolphins are frequently sighted.  The rescue (from the first phone call to the dolphin swimming off) took less than two hours.

Quick Facts

Name Common dolphin
Common dolphin
Suborder Odontoceti
Family Delphinidae
Max. size - Male 2.7 m (8.8 ft)
Max. size - Female 2.2 m (7.2 ft)
Calf size 80-90 cm (2.6-2.9 ft)
Max. weight - Male 200 kg
Food schooling fish and squid
Latin name Delphinus delphis
Location Tutukaka
Latitude -35.63530
Longitude 174.53044
Number of Whales 1
Number rescued/saved 1
At this rescue

Dr. Ingrid N. Visser – Whale Rescue Co-Founder

Dr. Ingrid N. Visser – Whale Rescue Co-Founder

Ingrid has attended numerous mass and individual strandings.  She is experienced in sampling and data collection at these events, and in the use of refloatation Rescue Pontoons and other rescue equipment.  She has served on the Board and was a trainer for another stranding rescue group.


With special thanks to

Dive Tutukaka for the kind use of their boat as a dolphin taxi.

Location of Rescue

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