Locals free stranded dolphin on Sugarloaf Key

Wildlife experts work to free a dolphin Saturday on Sugarloaf Key.
Wildlife experts work to free a dolphin Saturday on Sugarloaf Key.

In the midst of Hurricane Irma-related disaster recovery, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office took notice of a dolphin rescue today as a sign of hope in the Florida Keys.

At about 11 a.m., a homeowner on Rocky Road on Sugarloaf Key was working to repair storm damage to his house when he looked out one of his windows and spotted something stranded in the mangroves on a sand flat offshore.

It was an adult female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, trapped.

He reported it to the Sheriff’s Office and soon there were deputies, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers, Marathon veterinarian Dr. Doug Mader and Dolphins Plus’ Brandon Paquin on the scene and springing into action.

“They waded out to the stranded female and carried her to deeper water where she swam away,” said Deputy Becky Herrin, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.

Dr. Mader, who owns Marathon Veterinary Hospital, said it appears she had not been stranded too long because she had only minor sunburn on her skin.

“He is hopeful she will be fine, however if she had remained there long she may have suffered much more sun damage,” Herrin said. “He thinks perhaps she washed in with one of the recent very high tides in the area.”

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen