Friday 10 December 2010

Walvis Bay Strandings Network

This month, the Walvis Bay Strandings Network finally got some much-needed strandings equipment. In 2009, the Namibian Dolphin Project received a Walvis Municipality Environmental grant to support the network in this way. DDP Industries in Walvis Bay made up the stretcher, and very kindly sponsored the production of a second one also. The equipment also includes buckets and blankets to keep beached animals wet and protected from the sun and wind.
In my final week in town, I carried out a short training session with some of the network's volunteers, to familiarise them with techniques for getting a stranded animal into the stretcher easily (using our inflatable dolphin!), and the important things to remember in the refloatation process. For example, once a stretchered animal has been brought to the water, it needs time to get used to the water again and to start to use its swimming muscles again, before removing the stretcher support.
The strandings gear is looked after by Strandings Network members and anyone who finds a stranded whale, dolphin or turtle in the Walvis Bay - Swakopmund area should contact Sandwich Harbour Tours or Mola Mola Tours in Walvis Bay. Many thanks to the Walvis Bay Municipality, George Wolfaardt at DDP Industries, Simon Wearne, John Paterson, Naude Dreyer, Francois du Toit and all the network members and volunteers who have given freely of their time for stranded animals. Keep up the good work!

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