No one wants to see a dolphin strand itself on a beach.
Dolphins will strand themselves on the beach because of an accident, illness, or injury - or for other unknown factors.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center has, for years, voluntarily helped dolphins, seals, and other marine animals that have been stranded, and sometimes, they are able to help and rehabilitate the mammals.
It was Thursday that the Brigantine Police Department received call about a dolphin stranding on the island. As is the practice, on their way to the call, the department notified the Marine Mammal Stranding Center - which is located in Brigantine - about the call.
The thing is, volunteers from the Stranding Center already knew about the situation. They were already at the beach.
They knew because they actually caused the situation.
The "stranding" was actually Stranding Center staff and volunteers were doing a training exercise and demonstration with a fake, inflatable dolphin.
Apparently, someone thought a real stranding was taking place and it was a real dolphin.
In reality, it was the Center's training dolphin, "Daphne,", that looked realistic to more than one bystander!
While everyone got a little laugh, we do admit that it's great work being done by the Center's volunteers, and we commend them for carrying on such realistic training.
Seriously, let's take this time to pass along a serious message from our friends at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center: we're still in the seal stranding season - although, it is coming to an end. If you spot a seal on the beach - STAY AWAY! Here's what you should do:
"Call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center 24-hour hotline at (609) 266-0538 so that our trained Stranding Technicians may assess the animal. Seals are a Federally-protected species. Please do not attempt to approach the seal, and keep people and pets at least 150 feet away. Seals need to haul out on land to rest. They are easily stressed by the presence of humans and dogs, which could force the seal to return to the water before it is ready."