A spinner dolphin that was rescued by a group of volunteers, after being found adrift off Kovalam Beach on Saturday, died in captivity at a facility of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) on Sunday.

The dolphin was found stranded behind luxury hotel Fisherman’s Cove, around 8.40 a.m. on Saturday in the inter-tidal waters, unable to swim back. It was repeatedly seen being washed ashore. Volunteers for TREE Foundation’s sea turtle conservation programme reported the stranding.

A volunteer brought an ambulance to transfer the dolphin to a holding tank. After getting the required permission from the chief wildlife warden, Tamil Nadu, the team approached Dr. K. Joe, the chief scientist of CMFRI, Kovalam, for consent in providing a holding tank with sea water for the immediate rehabilitation of the dolphin.

The rescue team then transferred the dolphin around 11.30 a.m. into the ambulance, which had a suspended stretcher and the dolphin was kept moist with the help of towels soaked in sea water throughout the transfer to CMFRI, which was about half a km away.

On Sunday morning, the dolphin started to splash its tail in the tank around 6 a.m. continuously for almost 10 minutes. It then stretched out completely and breathed its last around 6.15 am.

Supraja Dharini of TREE Foundation said the dolphin was identified as a spinner dolphin based on its colouration. The spinner dolphin is a small marine mammal with a slim build. Adults are typically 129-235 cm long and reach a body mass of 23-79 kg. This species has an elongated rostrum (snout) and a triangular or sub-triangular dorsal fin.

This species of dolphins is small, found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. It is famous for its acrobatic displays in which it spins along its longitudinal axis as it leaps through the air, Ms. Dharini said.

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