Cetacean Strandings in Turkey

The DMAD team recorded three strandings which were covered by the media over the last week. These incidents took place in completely different locations (Izmit, Kuşadası, Fatsa) which is potentially concerning as evidence of anthropogenic threat spread from the Black Sea to the Aegean. 

Due to the excessive decay of the dolpin discovered at Izmit on May 1st, it was impossible to identify the species, however, we were able to determine that it was a calf. Cause of death is unknown, however, İzmit is a city that despite being home to multiple Natioanl Parks, has uncontrolled industry which has lead to high levels of pollution. 
Although the species of the dolphin stranded in Aydın Kuşadası on the 4th of May again was unclear, it was received by Adnan Menderes University Veterinary Faculty for necropsy.
The last stranding case occured on the morning of 6th of May in the Fatsa district of Ordu. Footage of local residents attempting to save the short-beaked common dolphin was captured on camera. Although the intentions were good, the lack of knowledge on how to rescue stranded dolphins unfortunatley meant that the actions taken (releasing the dolphin into water from a high platform and leaving it in deepwater after carring it with a sack) actually put the stranded dolphin at more risk.
“Citizens, seeing a dolphin stranded on the beach, kept it alive by putting it in a sack and leaving it in deep water.” It is rather clear from the news and the video that people gathered to help and made a plan on how to best return the dolphin to the sea. However, there is an unfortunate lack of knowledge that need to be tackled. Although efforts to help dolphin are always appreciated, we the people working in marine sciences, cannot ignore our obligation to inform and correct them.
Dolphins may strand for various reasons that include but are not limited to; sickness, damage to organs, loss of orientation due to excessive and impulsive underwater noise caused by sonar and seismic studies or, a calf starving as a result of getting seperated from its mother. If a healthy individual has stranded then it has a chance of successfully returning to the sea. However, during this rescue it is important to be careful to return the animal to the sea without causing any more physical and mental stress, as this will increase the chances of survival. The best action to take is to reach for experts such as the Turkish Marine Research Foundation (tudav.org) in order to protect both the animal and yourself using information provided by the experts.
If a live dolphin or a whale stranded on the shore is encountered, expert teams and a local veterinarian should be contacted immediately. Until the expert team arrives, the animal should be covered with a thin and light cloth soaked in sea water if the dolphin is exposed direct sunlight. It is crucial that the blowhole located on top of the animal is not covered so that the animal can breathe. The cloth needs to be wet as long as the animal is on land. The most critical factor is to stay away from the already stressed animal as much as possible in order to avoid causing more stress.